The 2021 season isn’t exactly how the Yankees expected it to play, but it looks like they’ve weathered the early storms. And now help – in the person of Luke Voit – is on its way.
Looking ahead to the season, most of Aaron Boone’s club players – writers, broadcasters and those who determined the odds – were the favorites to win the AL and replace the World Series Junior Circuit. Instead, a couple of weeks into the season, people were wondering if Boone would be the director when June started.
With a 4-1 loss to Atlanta at Yankee Stadium on April 21, Lk left the club just 6-11. The Yankees lost six of seven and didn’t get more than four races in a long span of eight games. It was a huge opening for the season for the club, which was hoping to win races in sets (the Yankees led MLB in 2019 and AL 2020 races).
“We’re not doing the job in its entirety, but I believe in this group, just as every guy in that room believes in this group,” Aaron Judge they told reporters after that game. “We don’t have to make any drastic adjustments. There we are. Here we are on the verge of taking a hot line and shooting. “
The judge was right. The Yankees are 12-5 since that loss happened, with the AL winning the most in that stretch, and one big reason was the return of a big bat to the lineup.
More specifically, the return of a large bat actually affects it. Giancarlo Stanton was battling a .158 deficit with a .571 OPS in his first 15 games, including a 0-for-4 loss to the Brave. Since then? .413 is battling 1,226 OPS and in six games in 15 games, the StatCast qualifying line runs all over the field.
And now, Voit is back. The Yankees announced their return on Tuesday morning. He lost the first part of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus this spring. You’ll recall that Voit ran 22 home races under the leadership of the majors in the short 2020 season.
It’s gratifying to add a slugger like that to the lineup, eh?
“Obviously it’s an impact, an impact bat and it adds a little more length and a bit of weight to our lineup, so it’ll be good to come back again.” Boon told reporters. “I feel physically fit. He’s been able to get a lot of live bats here this week, so we’re sure to be back. ”
The Yankees have struggled to replace Voit on the first base. Jay Bruce started there early, but in just 10 games he scored .118 and retired. After that, the position was split between DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford. He’s struggling .118 this season. And when LeMahieu was in the beginning, that meant Rougned Odor was second; .164 was battling with 80 OPS + in 19 games before landing at IL.
Now, Voit is second and LeMahieu second. Much more stability. It doesn’t solve all the problems: they still need Gleyber Torres and Aaron Hicks to name a few bats to produce closer to their career level, and headlines that don’t have the name Gerrit Cole may be more consistent (though they’ve been better lately).