Yankees: D.J. LeMahieu becomes an every day player with Miguel Andujar out


D.J. LeMahieu has been very impressive in his first three games with the Yankees and his role is about seen an increase. With the injury to Miguel Andujar and the possibility that he’ll need season-ending surgery on his labrum, LeMahieu will likely become the everyday third basemen moving forward.

At the time the Yankees signed LeMahieu this offseason a lot of people including myself were surprised. Even though LeMahieu is an All-Star second baseman the Yankees already had one in Gleyber Torres so it was confusing to envision where he would fit in. However, when the Yanks signed him they made it clear he would serve as a super utility man around the infield at second third and even first base at times.

In his first three games we’ve seen him start at third twice and second once, but moving forward we can assume he’s going to spend the majority of his time playing third base. LeMahieu was an everyday player without an everyday role when the season began and it looked like he would only play four or five times a week.

The Yankees will hope and pray that Andujar won’t need surgery and can somehow return to the lineup in a month or two, but the odds aren’t in his favor. Since there is a small tear in his right labrum it’s hard to see him avoiding surgery which would obviously be a massive blow to the Yanks.

Thankfully this team has great depth even with all the injuries they’ve suffered thus far. For example with Giancarlo Stanton also out the team called up Clint Frazier who will finally get his opportunity to play consistently and prove he belongs in the big leagues. We know LeMahieu belongs but with Andujar out his role will shift from playing four to five times a week to playing every day.

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It didn’t look like that was possible when the Yankees signed him but things always have a weird way of playing out. Now LeMahieu becomes one of the most important players on the team. On Saturday he proved that he could handle third base with the way he was flashing leather. And offensively he’s been a much-needed addition to the Yankee lineup because of his ability to put the ball in play at a very high rate and hit the ball to the opposite field.

LeMahieu doesn’t have the power that Miggy does but with that short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium we could see his home run total increase. Last season with the Rockies his flyball rate rose and he hit a career-high 15 home runs so he’s made adjustments to try and hit for more power which bodes well for him with the Yanks.

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Losing Andujar, who was arguably the team MVP last season hurts a ton, but LeMahieu is as good a replacement as you could have to step up and fill in. Tyler Wade will also help out and get some opportunities to play when Troy Tulowitzki sits, but LeMahieu is still going to play as often as possible, as he should.