The Yankees offense has struggled so far this year, but DJ LeMahieu has looked like one of the better players on offense so far this year.
Some would be shocked to say this, but if we are power ranking the top offensive performers on the Yankees, DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks would have the best cases to be the top two players. LeMahieu is someone who can have a huge impact on the season, as a rebound from him would take some of the burden off of players like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
With the Yankees pitching staff performing as well as it is the Yankees offense does not need to be top of the league levels for the team to succeed, but a solid offense would take a lot of stress off of the rotation and bullpen.
LeMahieu’s performance so far is a reason for optimism, but is he truly back? Looking at some of the under-the-hood statistics, Yankees fans might like what they are about to hear.
To go about this in a backwards way, LeMahieu is striking out and chasing pitches so far this season more than he did in 2021. That is not the worst thing because he is also barreling and generally just hitting the ball a lot harder than he did in 2021.
LeMahieu being so good at making contact in the past means that he could still increase his strikeout rate significantly and still strike out at a well below-average rate. That being paired with a better hard-hit rate means LeMahieu is making better contact so far this year.
Not all contact is good contact, and there was just too much weak contact from LeMahieu in 2021. This might signal a change in philosophy from him. He can still have good contact and strikeout rates without prioritizing it as much at the plate. If that leads to more hard-hit balls it would be a welcomed sight. He can also revert to his older strategy in certain situations, like when the Yankees could use a sac fly.
This will be an interesting trend to follow throughout the season. If new hitting coach Dillon Lawson is ever interviewed, his comments on LeMahieu and a potential change in approach is something to keep an eye on as we.
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