Who Will Play First Base for the Yankees?

The New York Yankees have a big question to answer this off-season: who will play first base? With Mark Teixeira retiring, the Yankees will need to find a new first baseman for the 2017 season. Who will they choose?

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The Candidates

The New York Yankees have a few options when it comes to who will play first base this season. They can either go with Luke Voit, Mike Ford, or Garrett Cooper. All three players have their pros and cons.

Luke Voit

Luke Voit is an American professional baseball first baseman for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2018, and finished second in voting for American League Rookie of the Year that season.

Voit played college baseball for the Missouri Tigers. The St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the 22nd round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft. He made his MLB debut with the Cardinals in 2018, and was traded to the Yankees during the season. In 2019, he was named an MLB All-Star.

Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar could be the New York Yankees’ starting first baseman on Opening Day.

The 23-year-old Andujar is a strong candidate to win the job, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

“I would say he’s probably in the lead right now,” Boone said of Andujar. “But we’ll see how it plays out.”

Andujar is coming off a strong rookie season in which he hit .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBIs. He also played well defensively at third base, but the Yankees acquired third baseman Troy Tulowitzki in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays last month.

DJ LeMahieu

DJ LeMahieu has been a revelation since coming over from the Rockies before last season. He immediately became the best defender at first base, and his presence in the lineup helped solidify an otherwise young and inexperienced infield. At the plate, he provides a consistent bat at the top of the order, and he has shown an ability to hit for both average and power. In 2019, he was one of only three first basemen (along with Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo) to hit over .300 with more than 30 doubles and 25 home runs. He also won a Gold Glove and was named an All-Star for his efforts.

Pros and Cons of Each Candidate

As the Yankees enter spring training, there is still question of who will be playing first base for the team. The Yankees have several options, all with their own pros and cons. let’s take a look at the candidates and see who would be the best fit for the team.

Luke Voit

Luke Voit is a 28-year-old first baseman who stands at 6’3” and weighs in at 225 pounds. He bats and throws right-handed. The Yankees originally acquired Voit in a 2018 trade with the Cardinals. In his first season with the Bronx Bombers, he played in 46 games and batted .322 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs. The following year, Voit played in 134 games, batting .263 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs.

PROS:
-Voit has shown progress each year he’s been with the team.
-He has demonstrated his power by hitting 21 home runs in 2019.
-Voit is younger than some of the other candidates for the position and has potential to improve even more.

CONS:
-His 2019 batting average was lower than his career average of .273.
-Voit missed time last season due to injury.

Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar had a great rookie season in 2018, impressing both at the plate and in the field. However, Andujar’s defense was a bit of a liability, which is why some have speculated that he may move to first base in 2019.

Andujar’s bat is his best asset; he hit 27 home runs and drove in 92 runs while batting .297/.328/.527. He also showed good discipline at the plate, walking 31 times while striking out just 62 times. Andujar’s bat would be a welcome addition to any lineup, but his defense is a bit of a concern.

Andujar committed 21 errors at third base last season, which was the second-highest total in the majors. He also had trouble with his range, particularly on balls hit to his left. Some have suggested that Andujar’s lack of lateral quickness could be an issue at first base as well.

Overall, Andujar is a talented young player with a lot of potential. However, his defense is a bit of a concern, which is why some believe he may be better suited for first base than third base.

DJ LeMahieu

LeMahieu, who is currently with the Colorado Rockies, is a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. He has a .298 career batting average with 62 home runs. He batted .348 last season with 15 home runs and an .893 OPS.

LeMahieu is a free agent after the 2019 season, so the Yankees would have to sign him to a contract extension if they acquired him. He will also be 32 years old next season, so he may not be part of the Yankees long-term plans.

The Case for DJ LeMahieu

While there are many eligible candidates for the Yankees first base position, DJ LeMahieu is the best option. He is a natural second baseman, but has the ability to play multiple positions. LeMahieu also has a great batting average and is a consistent hitter.

His Experience

DJ LeMahieu has played all over the infield in his eight-year career, but he is most comfortable at second base. He has shown himself to be an above-average defender at the position, and his versatility will be a valuable asset for the Yankees.

LeMahieu has also been a consistent hitter throughout his career. He has a career batting average of .298, and he has been particularly effective against left-handed pitching. In 2017, he hit .349/.417/.495 against lefties, and he should be a valuable piece in the Yankees lineup.

The Yankees have a few options at first base, but LeMahieu is the most experienced and accomplished player among them. His defensive versatility and consistent bat make him the ideal candidate to play first base for the Yankees in 2018.

His Versatility

One of LeMahieu’s best assets is his versatility. Not only can he play first base, but he is also a decent second baseman and an above-average third baseman. In the outfield, he has experience playing all three positions. His versatility will be key for the Yankees, who are looking to fill gaps at multiple positions on their roster.

LeMahieu is also a decent hitter. In his eight seasons in the MLB, he has batted .298/.371/.447 with 97 home runs and 516 RBIs. While his power numbers are not eye-popping, his batting average and on-base percentage are solid. He also has a career .797 OPS against left-handed pitching, which is something the Yankees could use more of in their lineup.

His Defense

When discussing LeMahieu’s worthiness as a first baseman, his defense is always at the forefront. And it’s easy to see why. LeMahieu has won three consecutive Gold Glove Awards, and he’s widely considered one of the best defensive infielders in baseball. He has a career .989 fielding percentage at first base, and he’s only made 18 errors in 1,406 chances.

LeMahieu’s defensive prowess would be a welcome addition to a Yankees team that struggled mightily on that side of the ball last season. First baseman Luke Voit was solid defensively, but the rest of the infield was a mess. The Yankees allowed 126 errors last season, which was tied for the third-most in baseball.

If LeMahieu can help shore up the defense, it would go a long way towards making theYankees a more well-rounded team. And that could be the difference between winning and losing come October.

The Case Against DJ LeMahieu

The Yankees have a bit of a dilemma on their hands. They have an excess of talent at first base and not enough spots in the lineup to accommodate everyone. The main contenders for the starting role are Luke Voit, Greg Bird, and DJ LeMahieu. All three are very good players, but only one can play first base. Who should the Yankees choose?

His Age

One of the first things that people will point to when they talk about DJ LeMahieu is his age. He will be 32 years old next season, and while that isn’t ancient by any means, it is worth noting that he is on the wrong side of 30. In baseball, that is often considered to be the point at which a player starts to decline.

There is no denying that LeMahieu has had a great career thus far, but there is no guarantee that he will be able to maintain that level of play into his thirties. History is full of players who have had great careers only to see their production start to decline in their thirties. It is possible that LeMahieu could be one of those players.

His Injuries

LeMahieu battled several injuries last season, including a hamstring strain that caused him to miss significant time. He also suffered a left thumb sprain in September that forced him to leave the Yankees’ Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins early. LeMahieu’s injuries are a concern, especially given his age (he’ll turn 32 in July) and the fact that he’s a career .298/.371/.430 hitter with 46 home runs in 1,116 games.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the Yankees need a first baseman who can provide some power and consistency in the lineup. While they have some options internally, it is clear that they are not satisfied with what they have. If they are going to make a move, it will likely be for someone who is either a free agent or on another team’s roster. Only time will tell who the Yankees decide to go with, but whoever it is, they will need to step up and perform well in order to help the team win.

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