The New York Yankees are fighting and clawing their way to get back in the postseason hunt, but the streaky nature of this team has been due to several 2019 and 2020 standouts not producing as consistently as they did in prior seasons, with DJ LeMahieu standing out as one of the biggest offenders.
LeMahieu is producing at an average clip, as his 97 OPS+, .264 average, and 10 home runs can attest to. However, considering how dominant he was over the last two years, it’s fair to question why the former Rockies batting champ has not been able to replicate his success in 2021.
Still, it’s hard to argue for a lineup that doesn’t feature LeMahieu being as lethal for opposing teams to go up against. The Yankees might need to squeeze out some wins against the Tampa Bay Rays without No. 26 being able to slap hits around the yard at full strength.
Aaron Boone claims that LeMahieu has a sports hernia and will require surgery to correct that ailment after the season. While Andrew Velazquez was called up to replace him in the lineup today against the Tampa Bay Rays, Boone said LeMahuer received an injection with the intent of playing tomorrow.
Will Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu be healthy for the playoffs?
LeMahieu hit .327 with 26 home runs and 102 RBI, the latter two figures ended up being career-best numbers by a wide margin. LeMahieu made history in the shortened 2020 season, where his .364 average helped him become the first player to win batting titles American and National League.
That LeMahieu may still be hiding somewhere within the regressed player, and he breaks out in October, the Yankees might be able to take home a win in the Wild Card game, or perhaps more. Boone needs to use LeMahieu very judiciously in the next few days with the aim of preserving his health.
LeMahieu offers more than just a bat, as his positional versatility and playoff experience would be invaluable assets for the Yankees to lean on, even if he isn’t providing the same game-changing power at the top of the lineup that he supplied in past seasons.
An infield with Gleyber Torres at second, Velazquez or Tyler Wade at shortstop, and Gio Urshela at third might be the go-to alignment without LeMahieu. With that combination all playing subpar offensive baseball at the moment, LeMahieu’s presence at the leadoff spot could come in handy against some of the better staffs in the AL.