Luke Voit

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Louis Linwood Voit

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Biographical Information[edit]

Luke Voit was a 22nd round pick by the Cardinals in the 2013 amateur draft, out of Missouri State University.

He hit his first career homer for the St. Louis Cardinals on July 3, 2017 as part of a four-RBI day in a 14-6 win over the Miami Marlins. The hometown boy connected off Jarlin Garcia with one on in the 8th inning, after having collected his first career RBI on a ground out in the 1st and his second on a double in the 3rd. He had made his debut a week earlier and was hitting .400 with a pair of doubles through his first 7 games. He continued his hot hitting on July 6th with a homer, a double and 3 RBIs in a 4-3 win over the Marlins. Overall, he hit .246 in 62 games that season, with 4 homers and 18 RBIs.

In 2018, Voit spent most of the first half of the season in the minors, only coming up to St. Louis for 8 games during which he hit .182. With the AAA Memphis Redbirds, he hit .299 in 76 games with 9 homers and 36 RBIs. On July 29th, he was traded to the New York Yankees in return for Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve, essentially to take over in AAA for Tyler Austin as the potential replacement were the oft-injured Greg Bird to go down again. Austin was himself traded the next day. In the immediate, he was brought up to New York, replacing the injured Aaron Judge on the roster. And just as suddenly, he became one of the team's hottest hitters with 7 homers and a .307 average, good for an OPS+ of 168, over his first 20 games. On September 19th, he had his best game yet when he went 4-for-4 with 2 homers and scored 4 runs in leading the Yankees to a 10-1 win over the Boston Red Sox. The following day, he hit another homer against the Red Sox. That allowed him to help set two records: the Yankees became the first team in major league history to have twelve different players hit 10 or more homers, and as it was the 246th of the season for the Bronx Bombers, breaking the team record set in 2012. he finished at .333 with 14 homers and 33 homers in 39 games, and as a result Bird was left off the Yankees' roster for the Wild Card Game, while Voit started and batted fifth. He added to his growing legend by hitting a two-run triple off Oakland A's ace reliever Blake Treinen in the 6th, a ball that missed the seats at New Yankee Stadium by just a couple of inches. That blow increased New York's lead to 5-0, in effect putting the game away, especially after he came in to score a sixth run on a sacrifice fly immediately afterwards. he then went 3 for 13 with 2 RBIs as the Yankees bowed to the Boston Red Sox in four games during the Division Series.

Voit faced a battle with Bird in spring training in 2019, as the Yankees planned to only carry one of the two first basemen on their roster given the two sluggers's lack of positional flexibility. However, both hit well in camp and an injury to CF Aaron Hicks opened up the DH slot for the start of the season, with DH Giancarlo Stanton shifting over to the outfield, so both players started the season in the Bronx. Voit started off where he had left off the previous season as he hit a three-run 1st-inning homer on Opening Day, March 28th, propelling New York to a 7-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. He also managed to keep an on-base streak of 42 games, including 31 since the start of the season, before being stopped on May 4th. He hit 8 homers in March/April, and another 6 in May, before slowing down in June with just 3, although he still hit .333 that month. He was at .280 with 17 homers and 50 RBIs at the end of June and was one of the major reasons the Yankees had managed to overcome a steady stream of injuries to build a sizable lead in first place. He was not named to the All-Star team, however, with Jose Abreu getting the nod over him as a substitute at first base for the American League and on July 2nd he was placed on the injured list with an abdominal strain. He was activated on July 13th, but on July 31st returned to the IL with a sports hernia. He missed a full month of action as a result, and then hit only 2 more long balls in September to finish at .263 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs in 118 games. He then missed the entire postseason, as Stanton and Judge were back healthy and there was no room for him on the roster with D.J. LeMahieu, the team's best hitter all year, being slotted to first base.

He showed up in 2020 remarkably trimmer, and had his best season by far, as once again he stepped in and carried the Yankees' offense when more famous teammates had to miss extended time with injuries. He started slowly, though, hitting just .176 in the 5 games the Yankees played in July, but by the end of August, he had raised his batting average to .301 and had slugged 13 homers, including 6 in a five-game stretch starting on August 17th, to place himself among the major league leaders. He then switched on to an even higher gear in September, passing the entire field with an epic three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at New Yankee Stadium from September 15-17: in those three games, he went 6-for-14 with 4 homers and 9 RBIs to become the first player in the majors to reach the 20-homer mark that season. His 20th homer was part of an inning in which the Yankees blasted a record-tying five long balls off Chase Anderson, and his was the third to be hit on consecutive pitches, following blasts by teammates Brett Gardner and LeMahieu. The Yankees obliterated the previous record of 16 by blasting 19 homers in those three games. He ended the year at .277 in 56 games, with 22 homers and 52 RBIs. He was the only player in the majors to reach the 20-homer mark while finishing second in the American League in RBIs, trailing just Jose Abreu and his 60 ribbies. He finished 9th in the voting for the MVP Award. However, his postseason was a lot more subdued. He did go 3 for 7 with a pair of doubles in New York's two-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card Series, but he hit just .111 in the Division Series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, with only one long ball, which accounted for his sole RBI.

A few days before the start of the 2021 season, on March 27th, it was announced that he would undergo surgery for a small meniscus tear, forcing him to miss probably all of April. He made his return on May 11th, but started off slowly, with only 1 homer and 3 RBIs over his first 12 games, with a batting average of .182. He was then placed on the injured list again on May 27th, this time with an oblique strain. He ended up playing just 68 games that season, hitting .239 whitj 11 homers and 35 RBIs, which was still good for an OPS+ of 109, but well below his production of the previous season. At first, the Yankees tried to make do with internal solutions to replace him, giving some time at first base to Jay Bruce (who quickly announced his retirement), prospect Chris Gittens (who failed to hit) and IFs DJ LeMahieu and Rouglas Odor (who were only passable). Finally, the Yankees bit the bullet and traded for 1B Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs, who proved to be very good on both sides of the ball. Thus, even though Voit was helathy by the end of the year, he did not play in the Wild Card Game which the Yanks lost to the Boston Red Sox. When the Yankees re-signed Rizzo the following March, the writing was on the wall for Luke, and on March 18, 2022, he was traded to the San Diego Padres, who were now in need of a DH (they already had the superior-fielding Eric Hosmer to play first base). The return was pitching prospect Justin Lange. He played 82 games for San Diego in four months, hitting .225 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs while playing mainly as the DH. On August 2nd, he was the only established player sent by the Padres to the Washington Nationals in the blockbuster trade in which they acquired superstar OF Juan Soto and 1B Josh Bell. The five others headed to the Nation's capital in the deal were SS C.J. Abrams, P Mackenzie Gore, OF Robert Hassell, P Jarlin Susana and OF James Wood, with Abrams and Gore having both made their debut earlier in the season but not yet established as regulars. Originally, it was Hosmer who was supposed to go to Washington to make room for Bell, but he exercised his no-trade clause, and the Padres substituted Luke for him, which was acceptable to Washington, while Hosmer was traded to the Boston Red Sox that same day.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL Home Runs Leader (2020)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2019, 2020 & 2022)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Paul Caldera: "Five points on Luke Voit, the Yankees' new slugger in the spotlight", North Jersey Record, September 5, 2018. [1]
  • AJ Cassavell: "Padres get slugger Voit from Yankees",, March 18, 2022. [2]
  • Matt Kelly: "It's time to stop doubting Luke Voit: After half a season in the Bronx, Voit has all the looks of a star hitter",, May 11, 2019. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "A year ago, he was unknown. Today, Luke Voit is the Yankees’ savior", USA Today, May 6, 2019. [4]

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