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Luke Voit - 2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper

One of my biggest misses over the last few years has been my refusal to move on from Greg Bird at the first base position for the New York Yankees. Year after year I have continued to draft Bird and make excuses why this year will be the year.

Part of the reason is that there has been a void of sorts at first base and realistically Bird has been the only candidate to fill it. However, that changed in the second half of the season when another candidate arrived from St. Louis.

My focus today is on Luke Voit, who broke out in a big way late last season in New York. Can Voit build on his first couple of months in the Bronx when the 2019 season starts? Let's take a look below.

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Voit's Path to Success

A key part of Voit's potential success in New York could likely come down to opportunity. There is not a huge amount of competition for the first base job in the organization and that should mean Voit is given every opportunity in 2019. Voit's success last year was in sharp contrast to his 2017 rookie efforts with the Cardinals. In 2017, Voit hit .246 with just four home runs, 18 runs and 18 RBI in 124 plate appearances. Last year he went .322 with 15 home runs, 30 runs and 26 RBI in just 161 PA. The power we saw last year is beyond anything we have seen from Voit in his career prior. Therefore, the question is can he repeat it next year?

Just looking at some of the obvious numbers, there are a couple of concerning indicators. The most obvious is a strikeout rate over 25% in his time with the Yankees, the highest of his career so far. It feels like it will be hard for him to maintain a .322 batting average while striking out over 25% of the time.

In addition, his wOBA (.447) and ISO (.350) were by far the highest of his career. His previous highest wOBA and ISO when playing significant time were .419 and .238 respectively. Those are both numbers that are primed for some regression this season and mean that it is unlikely he maintains the 45 home run pace he ended the season on.

The good news is that he does not need to hit 45 home runs to be a value pick at his current NFBC ADP of 198.10. Even hitting at the bottom of this Yankees lineup he should have the opportunity to put up solid numbers. That offense should score plenty of runs, and that should ensure that even the bottom of that lineup gets plenty of opportunities. If he can get in the region of 80 runs and RBI, then 30 home runs and a batting average in the .280 region would return solid value on the draft capital required to get him.

One interesting statistic that I hope maintains next year is the six percent increase in hard-hit rate. If that continues in 2019, then he has every opportunity of putting up 30 or more home runs. Two pitches that I hope to see him have success against again this year are opposing pitchers' fastballs and changeups.

The Yankees offense could be in line for a big year in 2019, and Voit could be a regular member of that lineup. Voit is currently going as the 19th first baseman off the board but the potential return he could provide makes him well worth a late-round flier in all leagues.

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