On January 14, the Yankees may have made the best move of the offseason. On this date, the Yankees signed veteran infielder DJ LeMahieu. The club inked him under the presumption he would play the role of a super-utilityman, to DH, and to fill in at multiple positions around the infield. This is a player who previously won a batting title in Colorado and has three Gold Gloves to his name, so it did seem a little odd that he would be used as a utility player.
The injury bug, however, passed through the Yankees’ clubhouse and it bit Miguel Andjuar badly. The third baseman was diagnosed with a right labrum tear in his shoulder, knocking him out for the season. This gave LeMahieu a much larger role on the team, and he took the opportunity to become an everyday starter.
Throughout the season so far, LeMahieu has arguably been the team’s most reliable hitter. He has also been one of the best bats in the American League. Here are some ridiculous stats to represent that:
Some amazing DJ LeMahieu facts:— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 24, 2019
- Leads MLB in hits with RISP (32)
- Leads MLB in BA with RISP (.478)
- Leads all Yankees in hits (93)
- Leads all Yankees in BA (.322)
- Has 30 multi-hit games
- Has 1+ hit in 56 of 71 games
- BA has not dipped below .272
To begin, he has been the best hitter across the entire league with runners in scoring position. Whether you put weight in clutch or not, this is pretty ridiculous. When players are in the best position to score, LeMahieu has delivered better than anyone in the game. But to prove why he should be starting at second base in Cleveland at this year’s All-Star Game, you have to dig a little deeper.
The first phase of voting is now complete and the fans have voted LeMahieu, Tommy La Stella and Jose Altuve into the second round. Everyone knows how great of a player Altuve is, but sub-par stats and an injury-riddled season weakens his case for 2019. La Stella, on the other hand, is having a great year. He’s also not exactly a well-known player, so he got there based on his good numbers. He still doesn’t have the edge over LeMahieu, though, and here’s why.
First, LeMahieu has played a slightly bigger role on the Yankees than La Stella has done on the Angels, as he has 31 more plate appearances thus far. LeMahieu has a significantly better batting average, a better BABIP, a better OBP a better wOBA, and a better walk percentage. La Stella however, is beating him in strikeout percentage, isolated power (ISO), slugging percentage, and just barely in wRC+ (by one). To top it off, LeMahieu has the WAR advantage. Where DJ wins the starting spot, though, is on the defensive side of the ball. Being the better defensive player should truly be the reason he claims the spot.
But like every year, this is a fan vote. It will be fanbase against fanbase in this one. So it’ll be up to you fans to win LeMahieu that starting spot. He deserves it!