Luke Voit was slashing .327/.407/.565 at Triple-A Memphis when he was called up by the Cardinals on June 24. The lefty-swinging first baseman remained with the big-league team for the duration of the season, starting 19 games, 13 of which were in July. Voit complied a modest .246/.306/.430 line in his rookie campaign with four homers, three in July. As is the case with most first-year hitters, Voit's plate skills suffered in his initial foray against major-league pitching, fanning at a 25 percent clip, compared to a mark in the teens as he progressed through the Redbirds' system. Voit's six percent walk rate was also lower than his days on the farm. Depending on how the roster shakes out, Voit could be battling Jose Martinez for a roster spot, as they both hit from the right side and can dabble in the outfield.
Voit has been taking reps at the corner-outfield spots throughout the offseason, Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Voit has been training locally at Maryville University and indicated that he's been gaining experience with reading balls off the bat and perfecting his routes while tracking flyballs. Though Voit said he doesn't envision a permanent position change from first base, he acknowledged that having familiarity with the corner outfield -- in addition to his ability to play catcher on an emergency basis -- could help his case for earning an Opening Day roster spot with St. Louis. The 26-year-old, who posted a .736 OPS across 124 plate appearances with the Cardinals in 2017, is expected to enter spring training second on the depth chart at first base behind Jose Martinez.
Voit blasted a solo home run in a pinch-hit at-bat during Monday's 10-2 loss to the Cubs. The rookie hasn't drawn a start since Aug. 30, and his seventh-inning solo blast was his first round tripper since July 9. The 25-year-old has acquitted himself reasonably well in his first regular-season exposure to big-league arms, slashing .250/.308/.444 with four homers and 18 RBI over 117 plate appearances, although his 25.6 percent strikeout rate leaves plenty of room for improvement. Voit will look to make an impression in spring training next year and build on the experience he gained this season.
Voit is not in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Cardinals. Voit will head to the bench after going 0-for-4 with a trio of strikeouts in Wednesday's loss to the Brewers. He's started both games at first base since Jedd Gyorko (hamstring) landed on the disabled list -- with Matt Carpenter sliding over to third base -- so he'll likely continue to see starts until Gyorko returns. Jose Martinez, who is starting over him Thursday, could also see some starts at first base.
Voit was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday. The Cardinals will bring back Voit from the Triple-A club to offer some extra depth in the corner infield following Jedd Gyorko's (hamstring) placement on the disabled list in a corresponding move. With Matt Carpenter on track to assume an everyday role at first base and outfielders Stephen Piscotty and Jose Martinez also capable of playing the position when needed, it's unlikely that Voit will see steady at-bats in his latest stint with the Cardinals.
Voit was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Monday. While Voit has maintained a respectable .783 OPS over 43 games since receiving the call to the majors, the Cardinals hadn't been able to find regular starts for the first baseman, who has picked up just 23 at-bats in 18 games during August. The 26-year-old will get the chance to take back an everyday role with Memphis for the next week or so before presumably rejoining the Cardinals as a September call-up.