London Series preview: First base

With only days until the historic London Series, here is the Bat Flips and Nerds player preview for the first basemen for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.


Mitch Moreland

  • Team: Boston Red Sox
  • Height: 188cm (6’ 2”)
  • Age: 33
  • Bats: Left-handed
  • From: Mississippi, USA
  • 2019 salary: $6.5 million (signed a two-year, $13 million deal for 2018-19)
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Former Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland thrives against right-handed pitching (.926 OPS this season) but has never excelled against lefties, yet established himself as the Red Sox primary first baseman during his All-star campaign last season.

In 2018, the left-hander hit .245 (.758 OPS) with 15 home runs, and 68 RBI in 124 games. Coming into June, he led the Red Sox in home runs this season, although it’s a safe bet to expect J.D. Martinez to overtake imminently.

The 33-year-old played a starring role in the Red Sox postseason heroics, hitting .294 including a memorable three-run homer in the World Series vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox were trailing 0-4 at the time, but Moreland’s home run triggered the comeback to clinch victory in Game 4.

When asked about the London Series, the veteran was visibly excited, saying “it will definitely be something different” and although he has travelled widely, he has “never been out this way.”

After just one game back from injury, Moreland returned to the 10-day IL with a quad strain on June 8th, so his presence in London is now in jeopardy. Although he will be eligible for activation in time, there is a suspicion that Moreland may miss more than the minimum. If so, look out for the sensational rookie Michael Chavis to shift over to first base.

World Series hero, Steve Pearce, who hit three home runs with 1.667 OPS against the Dodgers is also on the IL. The 36-year-old has a strained lower back, and with no timetable for his return, will not be making the trip to London.


Luke Voit

  • Team: New York Yankees
  • Height: 190cm (6’ 3”)
  • Age: 28
  • Bats: Right-handed
  • From: Missouri, USA
  • 2019 salary: $0.57 million (pre-arbitration eligible)
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This time last year, Louis Linwood Voit III was an uninspiring Minor League prospect within the St Louis Cardinals organisation.

He was selected in the 22nd round (pick 665) of the 2013 draft. Taken that low, Voit was not expected to reach the majors, but the right-hander had other ideas. Although always older than his opponents, Voit hit well in the minors and Yankees scouts saw more potential than the Cardinals.

Last summer, New York picked the pocket of the Cardinals by sending a couple of relief pitchers to St Louis in a low-key deal to acquire Voit, their first baseman for the next few years.

In Yankees’ colours, Voit has launched 29 home runs in 101 games with a stunning .957 OPS. He is a top-10 hitter since moving to New York, and the Yankees got him for next to nothing. Their front office does not get enough credit for these “Moneyball” transactions.

In a period when the Yankees are injury-plagued, Voit has been almost ever-present, with only Gleyber Torres and Brett Gardner appearing in more games.

If Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are still banged up with injuries, it is possible that Voit will be the Yankees designated hitter with DJ LeMahieu shifting over to first base.

Watch out for the rest of our player profiles and make sure you follow @BatFlips_Nerds on Twitter to keep up-to-date with all of the latest London Series news.

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