Padres Acquire Luke Voit From Yankees To Address Power Shortage
For all the big names in the Padres lineup, the club finished 23rd in the majors in home runs last season. They made a move to address that power deficiency on Friday, acquiring slugger Luke Voit from the Yankees in exchange for pitching prospect Justin Lange.
Voit, 31, led the majors in home runs during the shortened 2020 season but was hampered by injuries in 2021, going on the injured list four separate times and playing only 68 games. After the Yankees re-signed Anthony Rizzo this week, he was all but squeezed out of the Yankees lineup.
Lange, 20, ranked as the Padres No. 16 prospect. He made his pro debut with nine starts in the Rookie-level Arizona League last season and went 0-3, 6.95 with 15 walks and 29 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Luke Voit, 1B
Voit has been one of the game’s top power producers when healthy, batting .268/.366/.513 with 43 home runs in 174 games with the Yankees in 2019-20, but health has been an in issue. He had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee prior to the start of last season, went on the IL with a right oblique strain shortly after returning and then made two more IL trips due to left knee inflammation in July and September. His power is mostly to his pull side and down the left-field line, which will play well in Petco Park with its short distance to the Western Metal Supply Co. building, and he has hit for both power and average against lefties and righties in his career. He projects to primarily serve as the team’s DH but can play first base as needed.
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Justin Lange, RHP
Lange had some of the best pure arm strength in the 2020 draft class and was drafted 34th overall by the Padres. He’s been hampered by injuries so far in his pro career, including shoulder fatigue after he was drafted and a knee injury that limited him to 22 innings in his pro debut in 2021. When healthy, Lange overpowers hitters with a 95-98 mph fastball with exceptional carry through the strike zone. His slider flashes average in the mid-to-high 80s and his changeup shows enough potential for him to possibly remain a starter, although it’s rather raw. Lange’s velocity fell to 89-92 mph by the end of last season, however, due to his injury and his delivery is very inconsistent, leading his velocity and command to fluctuate wildly. Lange needs to stay healthy and has a lot of work to do on his delivery. He’s raw, but his arm strength gives him promise and he has an outside chance to remain a starter. He’ll head to Low-A in 2022.