Luke Voit: The AL MVP Candidate Has Entered Into Rarified Yankees Air

Luke Voit: An MVP 2020 Season

Luke Voit has quietly reached a plateau that makes him synonymous with Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. Phenomenal is the only way to describe it.

By now, Luke Voit has become “The Man” in the eyes of Yankees fans as the player who carried his team in the absence of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

But what may not be realized is the extent to which he has engraved his name into Yankees‘ history along the way. Check this out:

Luke Voit, Yankees fans will recall, was not even considered a regular in the Yankees‘ lineup during Spring Training 1. Mike Ford, who was coming off an excellent year in 2019 with twelve homers and 25 RBI in only 50 games played, was Voit’s direct competition for the first base job.

But unlike Ford, Luke Voit had a history with the Yankees even before joining the team on July 29, 2018, via trade by the St. Louis Cardinals with international bonus slot money to the New York Yankees for Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve.

Similar to Brian Cashman’s pursuit of Gerrit Cole as his “White Whale” this offseason, Luke Voit had been aggressively scouted and pursued by the Yankees. Somebody in the Yankees system saw something in Voit, and they wouldn’t let it go.

Luke Voit Dominating The Way An MVP Should

Oh yes – how sweet it is now – to find Luke Voit in the Top Ten of these AL Categories:

Offensive War: (7) 1.8, Slugging (1).659, On Base Plus Slugging (5) 1.001, Runs Scored (4) 37, Total Bases (2) 114, Home Runs (1) 20, RBI (2) 46, Adjusted OPS (5) 167, Runs Created (7) 39, Extra Base Hits (3) 25, – and there’s a few more to add as well.

Luke Voit Does it again for the Yankees
Luke Voit Does it again for the Yankees

Extraordinary, and exactly what the Yankees needed during another injury-marred season.

Chances are, Luke Voit will be overlooked when the votes are tabulated for the AL MVP for the 2020 season. But if you take a poll of his peers in the Yankees clubhouse, expect something entirely different.

Speaking of Voit with Kristi Ackert from the New York Daily News, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said this of Luke Voit:

“He strikes that balance between being uber-aggressive, which you want to be, he’s up there looking to do damage early in the count, but he has the ability to control the zone along with it.”

And so it is that word is quickly getting around the league that Luke Voit is someone to contend with in the Yankees lineup.

Luke Voit’s Roller Coaster Season

Luke Voit has experienced the ups and downs of a shortened regular season played amid a growing pandemic. The downs of that experience have taken him to a new low that is rarely expressed by professional ballplayers.

Voit, merely ten days ago, was wrapped up in a 5-15 slide by the Yankees that took them to depths of a .500 record in the AL East.

His response displayed an honest, but thankfully shortlived ride on the emotional roller coaster ride the 2020 experience has brought: (video)

A few days later, and there was Luke Voit, following an emotional yet targeted response by Aaron Boone, back on track with contributions to Yankees wins that leave them (now) with a nine-game win streak and challenging for the top spot in the AL East.

The return of Judge and Stanton to the Yankees lineup is a massive lift to the team, even if their mere presence casts a foreboding image on the opposing pitcher(s).

Aaron Boone is dropping Luke Voit from the number two slot in the Yankees order to the cleanup position.

But nothing seems to matter with Voit or the Yankees as they continue from their awakening, seemingly invincible at the moment.

Yankees Riding The Waves

Teams wait for these moments in time when everything seems to gel – starting pitching, timely hitting – no matter who the opponent happens to be.

Aaron Boone pushing all the right buttons for the Yankees
Aaron Boone pushing all the right buttons for the Yankees

But it’s those same downward spikes that seem to come out of nowhere, causing Luke Voit, and everyone, to give pause wondering if this Yankees team has what it takes to take it to the end.

Giancarlo Stanton’s 4-5 performance two nights ago in a Yankees win is only a portend of what this team brings to the rest of the league. Stanton didn’t “win” the game for the Yankees – he merely contributed to the win, like Luke Voit has done so many times in his absence.

Blow away starts from the Yankees staff we have yet to see. But bookend stellar starts by J.A. Happ around steady outings by Deivi Garcia, Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jordan Montgomery are enough to keep the league at bay while the offense takes over.

Can it continue, of course, is the question on all baseball minds with only a handful of games to go before the playoffs begin?

Well, that’s just the thing in baseball – ya never know. Just like who would have known the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox, or San Francisco Giants would be among the teams we see in this year’s expanded playoffs?

Getting there won’t be easy for these New York Yankees. Next Friday, the team will assemble in a New York City hotel to begin MLB’s imposed quarantine for all teams qualifying for this year’s postseason.

Oddly, those last three games of the season against the surprising Miami Marlins will be played at Yankee Stadium.

At stake is having a home-field advantage in the first two of three postseason games. The Yankees are in a battle with the Minnesota Twins to secure that right, and as play begins today, the teams are in a tie, with the Yankees holding a one-game advantage in the all-important loss column.

Luke Voit’s Yankees Running On All Cylinders

Hitting second, fourth, or anywhere Aaron Boone puts him in the Yankees lineup – Voit doesn’t care. The team that fans and media anticipated is now intact.

Luke Voit: Aaron Boone - "Where would we be without him?"
Luke Voit: Aaron Boone – “Where would we be without him?”

Without argument, Luke Voit has been the MVP of the Yankees this year. Aaron Boone spoke to Newsday Friday night:

“We’re seeing the growth of a really good hitter that’s gone to another level and is having an MVP season,” Boone said Friday before the Yankees began a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “Hard to believe where we’d be without Luke Voit.”

Shedding fifteen pounds over the winter has helped make Luke Voit an Iron Man for the injury-riddled Yankees, having appeared in 47 of the Yankees 51 games.

It may sound strange to say it, but a Luke Voit led Yankees team is seeking their tenth win in a row against the Red Sox at Fenway. J.A. Happ, whose last five starts have been excellent, with the lefty pitching to a 2.45 ERA with 27 strikeouts and only five walks, makes the start for the Yankees.

Ten in a row – who would have dared to think that ten days ago?

Luke Voit did, and now the rest of the Yankees do as well.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.