1. DJ LeMahieu
Simply put, David John has not “made long gone” nearly enough this season. Or even “made fielders chase balls to the warning track,” to be fair.
It seems very possible that DJ LeMahieu, without the aid of a juiced ball, will revert to something resembling his pre-2019 self moving forward, which is…fine! Largely fine. A complementary piece with a high batting average who puts lumber-on-ball more often than not can be extremely valuable, and his price isn’t prohibitive.
He needs to lift the ball more, though, which should be his primary offseason focus…and that desire should also manifest itself as much as possible down the stretch. LeMahieu’s quiet grace and courage feel like much stronger leadership qualities when he’s not topping grounders to second.
In LeMahieu’s worst full prime season in Colorado in 2018, he lifted 32 doubles to the gap. This season, he’s sitting on 19, and that’s following a brief hot streak that has pushed his power numbers a bit higher (.344 with a .532 SLG in his past seven games, all while battling a triceps issue). Traditionally, the infielder’s also been an excellent hitter with runners in scoring position, hitting .304 career. This season, he’s down to .272 with just a single homer.
LeMahieu was well above-average in June, posting a 115 OPS+ in the month, before dipping significantly and putting up his worst month of the season (by far) in July (76). We’re seeing an early reversal in August, despite his lingering injuries, but for the Yankees to make a real playoff push, they’ll have to be Machine-powered rather than Machine-hindered.