Operating without conscious action, Kismet can be defined as fate or something which happens without circumstance. Luke Voit toiled in the Cardinals farm system, ceding at-bats to José Martínez and Matt Carpenter before his trade to the Yankees in 2018. Voit made his debut on August second of the same year, 39 years to the date of the passing of beloved Yankees catcher, Thurman Munson. While one cannot connect the dots to the role destiny played in all of this, Voit's made his mark during his time with New York.

Last year, Voit led the major league's truncated season in home runs launching 22 in 56 contests, improving upon his previous career high of 21 hit over 118 games in 2019. Overall in 2020, Voit slashed .277/.338/.610 with 41 runs and 52 RBI in 234 plate appearances. He also recorded a 7.3 walk percentage with a 23.1 percent strikeout rate, a robust .333 isolated power (ISO) and .393 weighted on-base average (wOBA).

According to Statcast, Voit recorded 160 batted ball events with 21 barrels (13.1 percent), an 88.9 MPH average exit velocity and 40 percent hard hit rate. His expected numbers back up Voit's breakout with a .284 expected batting average (xBA), .593 expected slugging (xSLG) and .374 expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA). Plus, Voit's expected weighted on-base average on contact (xwOBAcon) finished at .461, well above the league average of .376 in this category. Against his peers, Voit's percentile ranks in these outcomes appear as such:

- 92nd percentile in xwOBA

- 96th percentile in xSLG

- 94th percentile in Barrels

- 86th percentile in Barrel Percentage

Although Voit traded some discipline for the power last year, it enhanced his results. This shows up more in the decreased walk percentage since Voit actually increased his zone swing percent and resulting zone contact rate by over six percentage points. Perhaps being more aggressive in the strike zone occurred as a result of being more aggressive by a plan of action. Voit also owned a higher swing percentage overall in 2020 up to 52.1 percent but his whiff rate decreased from 35.1 percent in 2019 to 27.6 percent last season. Despite all of this, his batted ball profile in terms of ground balls, fly balls and line drives remained stable.

It can be difficult trusting late career breakouts like Voit's, so monitoring situations like his growth in the strike zone in terms of contact helps sort out overwhelming information available at our fingertips. Expanding the sample size also helps decipher the trends but a core injury during the second half of 2019 makes this nearly impossible. So, using Voit's first half of the same season indicates the breakout displayed in 2020 started in earnest during this time:

- Voit's 1H of 2019: 349 plate appearances, 53 runs, 17 home runs, 50 RBI; .280/.393/.509, 14 BB%, 25.8 K%, .229 ISO, .381 wOBA

Taking these results and adding it to last season:

- Voit 1H 2019 plus 2020: 583 plate appearances, 94 runs, 39 home runs, 102 RBI; .279/.371/.551

In terms of power, Voit's 2020 should not come as a complete surprise. Using the standard second half of 2019 through and including 2020, Eugenio Suárez leads the majors with 44 home runs in 528 plate appearances with a .257/.360/.590 slash. Voit's first half along with last year provides him with more plate appearances, but his 14.9 plate appearances per home run rate aligns closely with Suarez (12 plate appearances per home run). Bake in Voit's better batting average and he becomes the more alluring target.

Before investigating Voit's projection sets for 2021, his last three years of data may provide the final insight into how to assess his potential regression to the mean. Using his numbers from joining the Yankees, here's how they look:

- Voit as a Yankee (Last three years): 213 games, 892 plate appearances, 141 runs, 57 home runs, 147 RBI; .279/.372/.543, 11.5 BB%, 26.3 K%, .264 ISO, .385 wOBA

Before joining the Yankees, Voit's patience profile made him a target for the franchise. But, the power spike cannot be ignored. First, Voit's spray chart with Yankee Stadium as the backdrop in the overlay:

When Voit hits home runs, they usually fall within an average launch range of 20-to-38 degrees with one outlier in the 40-plus range evidenced in his radial chart displaying launch angle and exit velocity:

In 2018, Voit's heat map showed a willingness to hit batted balls to the opposite field but he's adapted his approach with power to both foul poles seen within his spray heatmap:

Despite the gains in his recent results, most projection systems do not buy into Voit hitting for better than a .260-ish average:

- Voit THE BAT X 2021 projection: 613 plate appearances, 87 runs, 34 home runs, 88 RBI; .261/.349/.496

- Voit ZiPS 2021 projection: 509 plate appearances, 77 runs, 31 home runs, 97 RBI; .270/.356/.529

- Voit ATC 2021 projection: 599 plate appearances, 88 runs, 35 home runs, 94 RBI; .263/.349/.507

During the last two seasons, Voit's generated 448 batted ball events with 59 barrels (13.2 percent) and 182 hard hits (exit velocity of 95 MPH-plus) for a 40.6 percent hard hit rate. His .279/.372/.543 slash with the Yankees since 2018 sits well above his projections. Even with some migration to the mean, Voit can outdistance his projections in his age-30 season if he remains healthy. With some luck, he could hit 40 home runs. Pay for THE BAT X but profit if Voit carries over the ZiPS numbers with 600 or more plate appearances (91 runs, 37 home runs, 115 RBI if extrapolated).

Arriving in New York unlocked Voit's potential, a full season of this production would be kismet to the Yankees and fantasy owners alike.

Statistical Credits:



THE BAT X courtesy of Derek Carty

ZiPS courtesy of Dan Szymborski

ATC courtesy of Ariel Cohen