It was a complicated time when the Yankees signed DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract in January 2019 regardless of an absence of a definitive path to enjoying time. Actually, I keep in mind preferring on the time the Yankees to spend the cash on Jed Lowrie, who went to the Mets for 2 years and $20 million.
Selections like this are a great reminder why many people are usually not accountable for participant personnel.
Whereas Lowrie went on to file a grand whole of eight hitless plate appearances as a Met, LeMahieu grew to become the Yankees’ most precious participant in each of his seasons in pinstripes. In an MLB season marked by adversity, uncertainty and inconsistency, it ought to come as no shock that LeMahieu was as rock-steady as ever.
LeMahieu gained the batting title, hitting an unbelievable .364 whereas notching 71 hits in 50 video games. He additionally confirmed off his energy once more, ending second on the group in doubles and residential runs with 10 every. His total offensive contributions resulted in an excellent .364/.421/.590 triple slash, 1.011 OPS, 177 OPS+ and a couple of.5 WAR. All of those figures led the group, aside from his .590 slugging, which was second to Luke Voit.
In a yr the place Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres missed time and Gary Sánchez was by no means proper, LeMahieu’s contributions had been at occasions all that stored the group’s offense afloat. And that transient stretch the place he was on the injured checklist and the group ran out a center infield of Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada? Let’s not discuss that a part of the season once more.
LeMahieu additionally confirmed his worth on protection. Though his metrics dipped a bit from 2019, he’s a succesful fielder at first, second or third base. His versatility enabled the Yankees to make substitutions as the sport dictated, and on a group with quite a lot of shaky fielders, LeMahieu was one of many few gamers followers might really feel assured about with a ball hit his means.
A part of LeMahieu’s worth to the Yankees is that he’s the most effective of each worlds on the plate. He might be that all-important contact hitter (his 9.7 p.c strikeout charge was second-best in all of baseball), however he can even hit for energy and drive in runs. He sprays the ball everywhere in the diamond, and is aware of tips on how to reap the benefits of Yankee Stadium’s distinctive dimensions. Usually, contact hitters present little energy, however LeMahieu is such a uncommon exception, he’s actually just like the prototypical hitter you’d discover in a baseball textbook.
For all these causes, LeMahieu was essentially the most helpful Yankee once more in 2020. Now, he’ll hit free company this winter, and amid rumors of the Yankees attempting to cut payroll and options that the group ought to get extra “balanced,” there exists a doomsday situation during which the group lets its finest hitter go away the group within the curiosity of saving cash. Fairly merely, the Yankees can not let this occur. The contract that LeMahieu indicators might look dangerous within the remaining yr or two of the deal as he hits his mid-30s, however the worth that he can present within the first two or three years is so exhausting to seek out and so elite, that it’s value the price.
DJ LeMahieu is one in every of Brian Cashman’s all-time wins as a normal supervisor. The Yankees recognized a participant that might assist them in all aspects of the sport, trusted their intestine at the same time as fan response was damaging, and got here out with two of the most effective particular person seasons of any Yankee within the final a number of years. LeMahieu additionally grew right into a clubhouse leadership role, and the concept of him leaving for an additional group is one that ought to scare Yankees followers. Gerrit Cole was dominant at occasions, Luke Voit confirmed his energy and Gio Urshela certain was clutch, however there was no participant extra helpful to the 2020 Yankees than DJ LeMahieu.