Luke Voit and Greg Bird are each coming into spring with the opportunity to win the first base job. Here’s what to watch for.
Luke Voit got traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline last year along with international bonus pool money for Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos. Voit was not a touted prospect or a big name by any means. However, once Voit got traded to the Yankees he hit .333 with 14 homeruns in 39 games with the Yanks, snatching the first base job. Voit became a fan favorite, every time he would come up or get a big hit you would get “Luuukkeee” chants throughout the stadium. Voit would later go on to hit a huge triple in AL Wild Card game.
Now, what to watch for when it comes to Luke Voit is pretty simple. All Luke Voit has to do to win the first base job is do exactly what he did last year when he joined the Bronx Bombers. Another thing working for Voit is, teams that win always seem to have a player who you can tell is a very animated energetic figure that’s good for the locker room. In 2009 that player was Nick Swisher and in 2017 it was Todd Frazier, Luke Voit can be exactly that. Voit always looked like he was having so much fun when on the field. Also, this spring you should watch to see Voit’s pop to left. Voit last year took huge advantage of the short porch in left. This spring watch to see if Voit tries to push the ball and improve on an impressive 2018.
When it comes to Greg Bird you have quite a few things to watch for. Greg Bird has always struggled with injuries. Bird missed all of 2016 due to injury and was limited to just 48 games in 2017. If Greg Bird wants to win the job he has to stay healthy all spring. Greg Bird also struggled when healthy last year, Bird hit a forgettable .199 last year with 11 homeruns in 82 games. Now 11 homeruns isn’t bad for playing only 82 games so his pop is still there. However, with a batting average of .199 Bird will have to improve his average if he wants to win the first base job. Bird showed tremendous potential when he came up in 2015 hitting .261 with 11 homeruns in just 46 games.
Watch for Bird to not try to do too much, if Bird goes for bombs every time his average will disappoint which has been his problem. Bird does have an advantage over Voit though, Bird is a left handed bat which the Yankees need desperately. Having another left handed bat with pop would add a different look to opposing pitchers. Also, being a lefty with power you can pull the ball to the short porch much easier.
Greg Bird and Luke Voit are both vying for the first base job. No matter who wins the job if they are playing to their best abilities the first base position will be in good hands.
Feature Image: Keith Allison/ Flickr