Voit was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Friday, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports.
Voit played in 62 games for the Cardinals during his first taste of the big leagues last season, hitting .246/.306/.430 with four home runs and 18 RBI. But after a hot start to spring training, the first baseman cooled off over the past few weeks and gave the organization reason to believe that he could use a little more time in the minors. Instead, St. Louis will keep Jose Martinez on the Opening Day roster as a backup to Matt Carpenter at first base, as well as someone who can appear in the outfield.
Voit, who went 1-for-4 with a run in Thursday's 3-3 Grapefruit League tie with the Twins, is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with two doubles, four RBI, two walks and three runs in six spring training games.
It's an excellent start to a pivotal exhibition season for Voit, who proactively undertook a number of initiatives this offseason designed to up his chances of sticking on the 25-man roster. The 27-year-old put in work at learning both corner infield spots, implemented a dietary regimen that led to a 15-pound weight loss and is currently working on a swing adjustment in spring training that's intended to increase his overall contact rate. Voit was serviceable in his first regular-season exposure to major-league pitching in 2017, slashing .246/.306/.430 with nine doubles, four home runs and 18 RBI across 124 plate appearances. However, a bloated 25.0 percent strikeout rate and a corresponding mediocre 73.0 percent contact rate conspired to cap his overall success with the bat, something Voit is hoping his new approach will go a long way towards correcting. If early returns are any indication, the revised swing is already paying dividends.
Voit is re-working his swing this spring in an attempt to reduce his launch angle, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports.
In an era when more and more players are trying to lift the ball in order to hit for more power, Voit is going in the opposite direction. He's reportedly making the change in order to become less susceptible to high fastballs, which have grown in frequency in order to combat the increasingly common uppercut swing path. Voit is somewhat of an odd player to be making this change, as his 11.6 degree average launch angle in 2017 wasn't remarkably high. He did have a somewhat high 25 percent strikeout rate though, and as a 27-year-old fighting to make the end of the major-league roster, he might be desperate to find anything that could take him to the next level. Swing changes are far from guaranteed to work, but if Voit's batted-ball profile looks different this spring, it may not be a fluke.
Voit altered his diet and lost approximately 15 pounds during the offseason in preparation to see occasional time in left field in 2018, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Opportunities to show he can play left field are expected to happen later on this spring, but Voit's path to extra at-bats at first base to begin Grapefruit League play has been cleared with early injuries to Matt Carpenter (back) and Jose Martinez (quad). The Cards have a lot of moving parts in their infield if their current options remain healthy, and the 27-year-old Voit is hoping to carve out a role on the 25-man roster in the coming weeks. The uphill battle for playing time is particularly difficult for Voit since he's not an ideal platoon partner for Jose Martinez, as both players hit right-handed. Voit still has minor-league options remaining, which could lead him to return to Triple-A to begin the season.
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.
|10/1/2017 vs Milwaukee|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2013||ASX-State College Spikes||46||149||14||36||7||0||2||16||21||29||1||0||.356||.329||.242|
|2014||AFA-Palm Beach Cardinals||93||351||57||97||21||5||9||51||32||79||1||1||.342||.442||.276|
|2015||AFA-Palm Beach Cardinals||130||462||52||126||18||5||11||77||63||104||2||0||.360||.405||.273|