Since shifting to a domiciled batting cleanup for nan New York Yankees this season, DJ LeMahieu has struggled astatine nan plate.
For astir of seasoned infielder DJ LeMahieu’s clip pinch nan New York Yankees, he’s been a leadoff hitter. This season, LeMahieu has seen his domiciled alteration to batting 4th aliases 5th successful nan Yankees lineup. The move was sparked by Giancarlo Stanton’s injury. The Yankees person been without Stanton for six weeks, and during that clip LeMahieu has struggled successful nan mediate of nan lineup. It mightiness beryllium clip to move him retired of nan cleanup spot.
LeMahieu is presently batting .250, acold beneath wherever nan two-time batting champion expects to be. Once known for his reliability pinch runners successful scoring position, LeMahieu only has 19 RBIs this play successful 164 at-bats. He has a 26.9% strikeout complaint this play which is nan worst of his career. Even his walks are down this year, pinch conscionable 15. LeMahieu is particularly struggling pinch breaking balls this season. His numbers weren’t awesome past play either, but he was dealing pinch a nagging toed wounded passim nan 2022 campaign.
What should Yankees do astir DJ Lemahieu?
Aware of nan driblet successful his stats, LeMahieu is frustrated. He precocious expressed that he doesn’t understand, explaining he feels bully astatine nan plate.
“I consciousness for illustration I’m hitting nan shot hard,” LeMahieu said. “I consciousness for illustration I’m squaring nan shot up. I conjecture I’m swinging and missing more.” His struggles are particularly confusing fixed that his hard-hit complaint is up from 41.1% past twelvemonth to 51.3% this year.
Recently, LeMahieu grounded to get a runner successful from 3rd pinch a puzzling prime to bunt. Gleyber Torres was easy retired astatine nan plate. It was astonishing considering that LeMahieu is historically awesome pinch RISP. On nan broadcast, Michael Kay was baffled, calling it a unusual move by LeMahieu. Initially, fans figured it wasn’t LeMahieu’s telephone to bunt, but it turns retired it was.
LeMahieu stood by his decision, explaining he hits a batch of crushed balls. He was trying to debar a double play. LeMahieu has only grounded into a double play 3 times this season.
The reality is that LeMahieu will beryllium 35 years aged this summer. He hasn’t mislaid a measurement pinch his sparkling defense, but his discourtesy has declined. He’s not apt to scope nan numbers he posted arsenic a batting champion (2016, 2020), but nan Yankees request to find a measurement to get LeMahieu going again.
Yankees: Something needs to alteration for DJ LeMahieu
During outpouring training this year, head Aaron Boone remarked that he loves LeMahieu successful nan leadoff spot. With LeMahieu struggling astatine nan plate, it mightiness sound crazy to propose that Boone should move him backmost to nan apical of nan lineup. After all, if a subordinate isn’t hitting, they’re usually moved down successful nan batting order, not up. This solution mightiness travel arsenic a surprise, but thing needs to change, and DJ LeMahieu is built to beryllium a leadoff hitter. That’s wherever he’s utilized to hitting successful nan lineup for nan Yankees.
Even backmost successful precocious schoolhouse and college, LeMahieu was a leadoff hitter. In his earlier MLB days pinch nan Colorado Rockies, LeMahieu often batted 2nd aliases eighth, though he saw clip successful different spots successful nan lineup much often than he did pinch nan Yankees from 2019-2022. LeMahieu doesn’t person overmuch acquisition batting successful nan mediate of nan lineup, and since he’s been hitting location this season, he isn’t seeing encouraging results.
Cleanup hitters are typically known for their powerfulness astatine nan plate. That is not what LeMahieu is known for. LeMahieu is simply a array setter, a interaction hitter who gets connected guidelines and starts disconnected a large inning aliases keeps a rally going agelong capable to get to nan large guys. LeMahieu is utilized to having powerfulness hitters for illustration Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton down him. Without a patient Stanton, LeMahieu has been batting aft nan large guys. Perhaps this is contributing to his slump.
The displacement successful his spot successful nan batting bid has accrued nan unit connected LeMahieu, who has to nutrient aliases time off it to nan players who travel later successful nan lineup. This unit seems to person led nan erstwhile All-Star to change his attack astatine nan plate. This could explicate his higher strikeout rate.
When Stanton returns to nan lineup, nan Yankees should see returning LeMahieu to a domiciled he’s comfortable in. LeMahieu mightiness spot an summation successful accumulation from nan leadoff spot while knowing Judge, Rizzo, and Stanton are down him.
DJ LeMahieu tin still lend to this team, but his existent placement successful nan lineup is not working.