The New York Yankees’ offense has had a rough go to start the season and they could certainly use their power hitting first baseman Luke Voit back in the lineup.
Voit underwent surgery in March to repair a partial meniscus tear in his left knee that landed him on the injured list and the Yankees have seen the aftereffects in his absence.
With Voit out, the Yankees’ lineup has struggled mightily and his replacement at first base, Jay Bruce, could not fill his shoes adequately. Bruce hit .118/.231/.235 in 34 at-bats before he was ultimately benched. Over the weekend, the veteran made the decision to retire from MLB after 14 seasons.
In the meantime, DJ LeMahieu has shifted over to first with the newly acquired Rougned Odor sliding in at second. Odor hasn’t produced much better than Bruce, however, slashing just .125/.192/.250 in his first seven games in pinstripes.
Voit’s presence in the lineup has been sorely missed, particularly in the home run department after the first baseman led the league with 22 home runs last season. Through the first 15 games, the Bronx Bombers have only managed to slug 16 home runs and produce a .210 batting average.
Their big guns have struggled, as well in Gleyber Torres (no home runs, one RBI, .196/.317/.235), Giancarlo Stanton (.176/.236/.373) and Aaron Hicks (.160/.236/.240). Plus, after anointing Clint Frazier as their starting left fielder, he has not produced either, slashing a mere .167/.250/.222.
While superstars Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu have been solid, it hasn’t been enough with the rest of the lineup struggling throughout the first two weeks. This has led to the Yankees’ American League-worst 5-10 record; their worst start since 1997.
The offense is averaging 3.6 runs per game so far, which is uncharacteristic for the talented assortment of hitters featured in this lineup. Their lack of runs has led to a five-game losing streak after being swept by their division rival Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.
Overall, the Yankees have lost 18 of their last 23 meetings with the Rays, including an American League Division Series loss last October. That’s not going to cut it if they have any hopes of being contenders this season.
Luckily, help is on the way in the next few weeks. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the media on Monday that they expect Voit to return by mid-May. Voit recently began doing light fielding drills, according to manager Aaron Boone, which is a promising sign in his path to recovery.
Since coming to the Yankees via trade during the 2018 season, all Voit has done is hit. He's slugged 57 homers, to go along with 147 RBI and a .279 batting average in 213 games.
Voit’s value has never been more crystal clear to this team, especially with the Yankees slow start offensively. The addition of Voit would be a major boost to New York’s lineup as his bat has been missed in the middle of the lineup, which has lacked production.
In the short term, the Yankees bats must wake up and fast with Voit still on his way back. But upon his return, the hope is that the offense will begin to click on all cylinders.
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