Ever since winning American League Player of the Week, Luke Voit has received a grand total of 17 plate appearances courtesy of manager Aaron Boone and the New York Yankees. Anyone care to tell us why?
The team has played eight games since Voit’s hot streak helped set the offense on fire and he’s been rewarded with two plate appearances per game over that span. Giancarlo Stanton has occupied the designated hitter spot the last three nights for whatever reason and Brett Gardner has seen far too much playing time (even though he’s been OK).
Still, nothing trumps a lineup featuring Stanton in the outfield, Anthony Rizzo at first base, and Voit in the DH spot (or another variation that has the three of them playing at once).
What are players rewarded for if not stellar performances? Rizzo has largely been horrific on offense since his return from the COVID IL (and fairly shaky on defense, for his standards) while Voit had gotten his average to .265 and OPS to .808 (both season-highs).
Taking regular at-bats from the slugger isn’t going to help. It’s hard enough to find a rhythm in today’s MLB with how much of a greater advantage pitchers possess.
So, yeah, starting Gardner over Voit and then thinking Voit is going to come through in tight spots to pinch hit after seeing the field on and off is not the plan we should be rolling with.
What is Yankees manager Aaron Boone doing with Luke Voit?
Like we’ve previously said, everyone’s aware there’s not room for Voit every single night. But playing three complete games out of the last eight certainly isn’t the answer. Why haven’t we found a simple middle ground where Voit is playing 4-5 times per week? That gives Stanton the “rest” he needs from playing defense. At this point, he should be able to handle that much of a workload in the outfield based on what we’ve seen over the last month.
And for a manager/organization that LOVES to play matchups, why are we pinch-hitting Voit for lefty Rougned Odor against a right-handed pitcher? Voit is obviously the better hitter, but this just isn’t the move.
Also, is another concern playing Aaron Judge in center field frequently? Judge and Stanton have been healthy all year. Many would agree not to work them to the bone, but they also can’t be pampered down the stretch. Now’s the time to start pushing your star players and have them prepared and ready for the biggest games of the year, i.e. when Judge will be relied upon to play center and Stanton will be required to play defense.
Rizzo was acquired because of Voit’s inability to stay healthy. But why was there no definitive plan in place if Voit was healthy and playing well? Why did he have to answer questions about his standing in the starting lineup? Why wasn’t this handled better?
Perhaps the front office has a significant pull here, but at the moment, this falls on Boone until someone convinces us otherwise.