The New York Yankees have been subjected to a very bumpy ride for most of this season, and the play of DJ LeMahieu as compared to the last few years has been part of the reason why. LeMahieu’s power outage is exactly what a lineup full of highly volatile question marks did not need.
After two consecutive top-four finishes in MVP voting, and after amassing a .336 batting average with 36 home runs in 195 games between 2019 and 2020 despite rarely having shown that much power in his career, LeMahieu has fallen back to .267 with just seven home runs this year.
Luckily, LeMahieu has started to pick up the slack lately, and with several big boppers in the Yankee lineup starting to hit the injured list, his uptick in production has been greatly appreciated. He continued to come through with clutch hits against the Kansas City Royals.
LeMahieu added in two hits and some clutch RBI to help the Yankees take home a 5-2 victory. LeMahieu came into this game hitting .333 since an August 3 win against the Orioles, and his performance against Brady Singer and Kansas City helped a shorthanded Yankees team remain in the hunt.
DJ LeMahieu could give the Yankees stability.
Just in this game alone, with Giancarlo Stanton getting a day off, the Yankees were without three starting infielders (Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Anthony Rizzo) in addition to depth pieces like Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier. Almost the entire Opening Week rotation is on the mend.
With players around dropping like flies, LeMahieu has started to turn back the clock.
Even if we are willing to accept that the power numbers were a flash in the pan, he needs to get that batting average close to .300 and come through in the clutch with some big hits to justify the contract and give the Yankees confidence he can be a major offensive force on a team with playoff aspirations.
With eight RBI, five extra-base hits, and several hits that put the Yankees in front against Kansas City, Baltimore, and Seattle, the Machine is starting to wake back up.
Getting hits like these against a Seattle team in flux and two down-out franchises in Baltimore and Kansas City is one thing, but LeMahieu needs to start translating these performances into games against top pitching and/or a playoff contender to really reassert himself with the Yankees.
The Yankees are going to be a high-variance lineup with three strikeout machines in Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Joey Gallo in the heart of the order.
LeMahieu looking like the batting champ we saw in Colorado and the MVP candidate we saw in 2019 would be the shot in the arm this team needs, especially with so many health questions yet to be answered.