On January 11th, 2019, the Yankees inked former Colorado Rockies infielder and a career .299 hitter DJ LeMahieu to a two year, $24 million deal. As of right now, this could be one of the best signings that happened in the offseason.
During the 2018 season, no Yankee had a qualified batting average over .300, and only one Yankee came close to that – Miguel Andújar with an average of .297. Aaron Judge had the second highest batting average on the team with .278, and it just continues to drop from there.
Through the Yankee’s first 55 games of the year, LeMahieu has solidified his role as the Yankees’ leadoff hitter, and he has earned it.
LeMahieu has shown the haters that he is not just a Coors Field product, as he is currently batting .313 with a .366 on-base percentage, 34 runs, 30 runs batted in, a 1.2 WAR and he has become a crucial part of the Yankees lineup. This kind of consistency is just what the Yankees needed after last year.
LeMahieu has also played the role of infield utility man, playing innings at first, second, and third base, but mainly at his natural position, which is second base.
Originally, many fans were shocked at the signing of DJ LeMahieu, as the signing of the three-time Gold Glover effectively put the Yankees out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes.
Although it is still early in the season, LeMahieu has been the better hitter when compared to Manny Machado. Machado, at time of writing, has a .264 batting average, .351 on base percentage, 27 runs, and 27 runs batted in. Machado only has a .1 advantage over LeMahieu with a 1.3 WAR.
The two are quite different types of hitters, but LeMahieu was the smarter signing when it came to the Yankees, as their lineup needed someone who would consistently get on base, rather than sign another power hitter. LeMahieu was simply the right fit at the time.
One of the Yankees’ biggest problems last season was situational hitting, as they struggled to hit with runners on base.
LeMahieu has come to their aid, having an absolutely stellar year so far when it comes to situational hitting. With runners on base, LeMahieu is hitting an even .400 with an on-base percentage of .438, with runners in scoring position he is hitting .444 with an on-base percentage of .472, and with runners, in scoring a position with two outs he is hitting .407 with an on-base percentage of .467. LeMahieu has been very clutch thus far, and it is just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees.
DJ LeMahieu was a safer and a much cheaper option for the Yankees than Machado was, and so far, it is paying off well. Machado may be worth it for the Padres in the long run, but it looks as though DJ LeMahieu will work out just fine here in the Bronx.
Featured Image: Julie Jacobson - Associated Press