Luke Voit’s bat has started off the 2017 season with a scorching hot bat. If he persists anywhere near this current level, the Cardinals will have no choice but to welcome him to the big league club.
Luke Voit can really hit. If you have followed the Cardinals farm system over the past couple years, this will come as no surprise. If you have never heard of him, please get to know this man.
At 6’3″, 230 pounds, Voit is an absolute tank, a mature and powerful hitter. Heiling from Missouri State, he was selected in the 22nd round of the 2013 draft. Since then, he has done nothing but rake.
Following a very linear track of development, Voit has played in five different minor league levels in five years of performance. In AA last year, Voit had his best year yet. To be specific, Voit led the Texas league in batting average, hitting at a .297 clip through 482 at-bats.
On top of that, he also hit 19 home runs and drove in 74 runs, 9th and 4th in the league, respectively. Not that a prospects’ value comes down to statistical performance, but Voit was probably the top-performer in the entire farm system last season.
This season, Voit has started the season in AAA Memphis. After yet another promotion, he has showed zero growing pains to start his 2017 campaign. Specifically, he has absolutely raked through 6 games, hitting .556 with a 1.945 OPS.
To go along with that crazy line, Voit has already smashed 3 home runs, hit 3 doubles, and collected 7 RBIs. Also relevant, Voit has walked 6 times, showing solid patience in his approach. I understand this is a small sample size, but these numbers are nonetheless phenomenal. It seems that Voit is on a mission.
So… the Redbirds have hit a leadoff home run in all 3 innings tonight! 💣
And Luke Voit has a HR in 3-straight games!
Bader. Kelly. Voit.
— Memphis Redbirds (@memphisredbirds) April 12, 2017
So, why do we never hear about him? Why is he still playing minor league baseball? To be honest, the answer is simple. Voit is underwhelming on defense.
He plays a relatively average first base, and really doesn’t show the athleticism to play anywhere else. Especially for a team that values versatility like the Cardinals, this does not bode well.
Also, it surely doesn’t help Voit that the Cardinals recently decided to permanently move Matt Carpenter to first base. Considering that is the only position he can seemingly occupy, it clearly works against him that there is no controversy at the MLB level.
On a brighter note, however, he is lucky that Carpenter can play 3 positions. In this way, any injury to Gyorko, Wong, or Peralta really opens the door for a chance to prove himself in the MLB.
Taking all the above into account, I think the Cardinals have two options.
Option #1 is to promote Voit. I understand his defensive deficiencies, but I believe his bat is just too good to continue ignoring. Especially considering the poor offensive start of the Cardinals at the MLB level, I believe that Voit could provide a spark.
In baseball, there are sometimes players that can flat out hit. They have “it” at the plate – a certain confidence, consistency, and swagger. When players come like this come around, they need to be playing. Regardless of defense, they deserve a spot to spark a lineup and support a squad’s offensive efforts.
Take a look at the Cubs Kyle Schwarber, for instance. A player with literally no positive value as a runner or defender, the Cubs hit him lead off for one simple reason: he rakes. I am not sitting here saying that Voit is the next Schwarber, but the principle is there. He deserves a chance to do what he does best at the highest level.
Option # 2 is to trade him. A prime DH candidate, I’m sure that some American League clubs would be thrilled to add Voit to their lineup.
Especially in a situation where his defensive skills are literally irrelevant, Voit could focus solely on his strength. Perhaps, if my speculations are accurate, the Cardinals could obtain a player who better fits their system in exchange for Voit’s bat.
With both of the above options, the Cardinals need to make a decision quickly, as the clock is ticking. A 4-year college player at Missouri State, Voit is relatively old for a Minor League prospect.
At 26 years of age, the longer they wait, the more his value drops as a player. In a more positive note, however, his skill set doesn’t rely upon crazy athleticism or relentless effort, two qualities that clearly diminish with age. Nonetheless, teams will be hesitant to take on a 26 year old “prospect.”
Long story short, Luke Voit is too good to be sitting in the farm. If he continues to play like this, this fact will only become more obvious.