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What can Cardinals fans expect from Luke Voit?

Cardinals, Luke Voit

On Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals promoted 26-year old Luke Voit for his first major league call up. The St. Louis native has earned his call up with an impressive—yet under the radar—minor league career. Many Cards fans know his background—Lafayette High School and Missouri State University—but don’t know what type of player he is. Let’s take a look at what Cardinals fans can expect from Luke Voit.

The Cards selected Voit in the 22nd round of the 2013 draft. The first baseman was selected as a catcher out of Missouri State, but he only caught in 45 games in the Cardinals organization. Coming out of college, the scouting report on Voit said his bat was more advanced than his glove and he would likely have to move from behind the plate. Since his move from the catching position in 2013, Voit has started only 13 games at a position other than first base.

Offensively, Voit has put up impressive numbers at every stop in the Cards minor league system. A stat that I like to use to evaluate a player’s offensive performance is weighted runs created plus, or wRC+. This stat has a lot of components and is even league and park adjusted. League average is 100, so a 115 wRC+ means the player was roughly 15% above average. Here is Voit’s wRC+ history through his minor league career:

2013 Short Season State College: 115
2014 High-A Palm Beach: 124
2015 High-A Palm Beach: 134
2016 Double-A Springfield: 145
2017 Triple-A Memphis: 150

Voit has earned his call up, but a few questions remain.

Why was he never considered a top prospect?

Looking at the above numbers, many will wonder if the prospect rankers missed this one. This is a tough question to answer, but there are other factors that are at play here. First, Voit has limited position flexibility, which also limits his prospect ranking because it’s harder to get to the major leagues only playing one position. Second, Voit’s age has always been advanced for the level he was playing at and prospect rankers like to see young guys raking against older players. It could be said that Voit was taking advantage of younger pitchers.

What is Voit’s hitting profile?

I think over a full MLB season, Voit could hit between 15-20 home runs. His strikeout rate would probably be around 20%, maybe slightly less,  which is MLB average to slightly above average. As far as walks, I think projecting an OBP around .330 to .340 would fit, which would put him in the above average category according to FangraphsBottom line is he isn’t going to be the big bopper that the Cards need for the middle of their lineup, but he could be a valuable bench piece if you are okay with the limited positions.

What does the future hold for Voit?

It is unclear how long he will be with the big club, but since he is replacing Chad Huffman, I think there is a chance he could stick for a while. For Voit to get starts, the Cardinals would have to move Matt Carpenter, something they have not been willing to do this season. If the season continues to trend south, the Cards may want to see what Voit can do over a stretch of starts. While he may be position limited, if he can provide the numbers listed above, he will have value.

At 26-years old, Luke Voit isn’t getting any younger, but let’s not worry about the future and just enjoy the local kid’s time here.

Thanks for reading!

John Nagel
@CardinalsFarm

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