With the Cardinals depth at first base, fans and team executives have not had to turn to their minor league system for assistance. For this reason, 1B Luke Voit is going largely unnoticed despite his impressive 2016 performance.
Based on a team’s needs at the Major League level, certain prospects gather more attention than others. Put simply, it is basic supply and demand. This season, for example, starting pitching for the Cardinals has been weak. As such, prospects such as Luke Weaver, Alex Reyes, and Jack Flaherty have gathered a great amount of the spotlight. Also, due to Yadier Molina’s veteran status, Carson Kelly has emerged has his eventual heir.
For the exact same reason as above, first basemen have received little to no attention in the St. Louis farm system. Due to serious depth at the position, the Cardinals have had no reason to turn to the minors for assistance. With Adams, Gyorko, Moss, Carpenter, and Holliday as options for the position, other areas of the squad have obviously captured more attention in this context. Such a displacement of attention is understandable.
As the Minor League season winds down, it becomes important to evaluate prospects regardless of needs at the MLB level. Players have a full body of work to showcase, and can now be judged regarding improvement and potential moving forward.
As you may have guessed by both the title and opening portion of this article, the main subject will be a first baseman. Specifically, it will cover Luke Voit, the starting 1B for the AA Springfield Cardinals. Once a 22nd round pick in the 2013 draft, Voit had low expectations after a solid career at Missouri State. After an underwhelming 3 years in the Cardinals farm system, Voit is seemingly starting to put it all together.
After hitting .242, .276, and .273 in his first three seasons, Voit has truly elevated his level of play after being promoted to AA ball. Specifically, he currently holds a .299 average, with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs. To offer some perspective regarding Voit’s offensive improvements, his 18 home runs is almost level with the total from his first 3 seasons combined (22). In an impressive fashion, Voit has found away to increase his power while also improving his average. After jumping to significantly tougher competition, that is an unusual feat. As of late, Voit has been on fire, hitting .395 in the past 10 games with 15 hits.
@Sgf_Cardinals 1B Luke Voit lost four-game multi-hit streak, but extended five-game hit streak. He's hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games.
— Derek Shore (@D_Shore23) August 18, 2016
Obviously Voit will not see big league action in 2016. To go a step further, it is possible that even 2017 doesn’t hold a debut for the long-shot first baseman. As such, you may be wondering why Voit matters. Why should his improvement matter? First of all, as a former late-round pick, Voit has put himself on the map as a player that deserves constant attention and scrutiny. Second of all, and in a more general sense, he reminds us to take a more wholistic view of the Cardinals minor league system, evaluating any talent that could possibly offer positive contributions somewhere down the line. In a league always looking for a quick-fix, such a reminder is sorely needed.