Luke Voit’s scorching hot bat will make Greg Bird an afterthought during the stretch run for the New York Yankees.
It was strong enough to start the rumblings of who the everyday first baseman might become. Voit continued his tear on Sunday Night Baseball when he again homered and went 3-for-3 with one walk and two RBI.
The million dollar question has now been begged and served, who will be the starting first baseman down the stretch of the season?
For starters let’s again detail the miserable season Greg Bird has endured. He has hit .196 with 11 homers and 35 RBI in 74 games. His on-base percentage sits at a depressing .284 and he has only slugged .384. His numbers are nearly identical from his second year to his third as he hit just .190/.288/.422 in 2017 with nine homers and 28 RBI in 48 games.
Bird has been nothing but brutal this year. He has provided zilch for this Yankees’ lineup and has become more of a liability than a benefit to his team at this point. Last night, for example, Dylan Bundy who was set to pitch for the Orioles had compiled splits of .316/.377/.550 against left-handed hitters in 2018.
If Bird isn’t in the lineup to face Bundy, it appears he has fallen out of favor with Boone. Despite this, Boone gave Bird yet another shot on Tuesday night and Bird returned the favor with a 0-for-4 night.
Voit has taken the reins and ran with them. Since coming to the Bronx, he is slashing .351/.400/.595. The Bombers haven’t seen production like that from a first baseman in any stretch this current season.
Voit has provided a spark to this lineup that was in dire need of an unsung hero. A man who has emerged to make Greg Bird become a forgotten trend.
Yes, I’ll be the first one to admit, it’s too soon to count these eggs before they hatch (no pun intended). Bird has shown us how valuable his swing can be for Yankee Stadium. Ask Andrew Miller, for example.
But the Yankees and Aaron Boone shouldn’t wait around on “potential”. This is the home stretch of the season, and as the Yankees have narrowed down the deficit in the AL East to 6.5 games, a bat like Bird’s can’t be in the lineup on a daily basis.
Instead, it is time for Voit to take over the everyday role at first base while Bird should be serving as the left-handed, power pinch-hitter off the bench.
After absolutely taking over the series between the Orioles and Yankees, Luke has shown why he deserves to be the starting 1B. His pure excitement and passion is a stark contrast to what Bird has provided the Yankees for most of the 2018 campaign. Via Dan Martin of the New York Post, Voit feels like he’s in a good place.
“It’s like Christmas morning,” Voit said. “It’s great for my confidence. This is the first time I’ve actually got an opportunity in the big leagues. I’ve always been a bench player. It feels good to get consistent at-bats.”
It’s time for the Greg Bird “possibilities and potential” hype to take a back seat. He had four to five months to get his swing figured out and he’s failed to do so. It is too crucial of a time in the year to have a bat in the lineup that is drawn up as an automatic out each time he digs into the box.
Luke Voit should be penciled into the lineup for the foreseeable future. Bird should be riding the bench.
And Boone has very little choice.