All the talk about DJ LeMahieu, the New York Yankees free agent, and if he will remain in the New York Yankees pinstripes, dominates the offseason hot stove. And for a good reason, he is one of the best players in baseball. Here is his story and how he became a Yankee and remain in those traditional pinstripes.
The Yankee’s 32-year-old David John “DJ” LeMahieu has completed his second year with the Yankees. He quickly became a favorite player among all Yankee fans last season. The Cubs selected LeMahieu in the second round of the 2009 MLB draft, and he made his MLB debut for the Cubs in 2011 before being traded to the Rockies before the 2012 season. LeMahieu won a Gold Glove Award in 2014, 2017, and 2018 and was named an MLB All-Star in 2015 and 2017, and won the National League batting title in 2016. After becoming a free agent, he signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season.
DJ was born in California, but his family moved to Michigan, where he attended high school. When in high school, he played as a shortstop and pitcher for the school’s baseball team. In his senior year, as a leadoff hitter, he batted .574 with eight home runs, 16 doubles, seven triples, 70 runs scored, 32 runs batted in (RBIs), and 39 stolen bases.
Although he was selected in the Detroit Tigers draft, he decided to attend Lousiana State University instead. He was a shortstop for the baseball team and excelled with a .350 batting average. He later transitioned from shortstop to second base. LeMahieu was selected to the 2009 College World Series All-Tournament team. He hit .444 in the series leading all players in the series with 12 hits.
After being selected by the Cubs in the 2009 draft, his Cubs career didn’t last as the Cubs traded LeMahieu to the Colorado Rockies in 2011. In May of the following year, he was called up to replace an injured player. He recorded his career-best four-hit game against the Brewers for a 9-6 Rockies win in August. Later in August, LeMahieu wrote his name into the record books, as he recorded 12 assists in a 9-inning victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 28th. He was a 2015 All-Star, and in 2016 LeMahieu won the National League batting title. His .348 season average led all of Major League Baseball. He was a 2017 All-Star, and in 2018 he was named the best defensive player in all of the majors.
DJ becomes a New York Yankee
DJ always wanted to play for the New York Yankees. His childhood idol was Derek Jeter. In an interview, he said that he wanted to be like Jeter and modeled his on the field and off the field life after him. On January 14th of last year, DJ signed a $24 million two year contract with our Yankees. He couldn’t have the number 2, so he selected #26. During his short time with the Yankees, he has played shortstop and third base but primarily second base, where he has excelled. The Yankee organization refers to him as the super-utility player. He quickly became a fan favorite for his frequent and timely hitting and good play at second base. For his hitting, he was coined “the Machine.”
Last season he had the most hits of any Yankee and was third in runs batted in. He also had the most doubles. Although he is not a home run hitter, he provides that much needed timely hitting missing from some of the home run hitters. DJ has turned out to be more than the Yankees could have ever hoped for. He plays 2nd, 3rd, SS, and a back up of Voit at first.
LeMahieu ended his first season batting .327 with 197 hits, 102 RBI’s, and an OPS of .893. He also had the most singles of any player in baseball. After the season, MLB awarded him the Silver Slugger Award, and the New York Yankees named him its MVP. The only question is if DJ would repeat his 2019 performance in the shortened 2020 season. The question was quickly answered as DJ started the season just as he had ended his 2019 season. He continues to be the New York Yankees’ “hitting machine.”
LeMahieu hit a bump in the road when he sprained his thumb swinging at a ball. At first, the Yankees thought he would be day-to-day, but the soreness wasn’t relieved, and he went on the 10 DL on August 6th. He returned from the injured list on Saturday, August 29th. Although he was not involved in the Yankees’ win in his first game back, he hit a triple in the game. He ended the season being again Silver Slugger and won the batting title, hitting .364 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs. He had a 1.011 OPS and a .590 slugging percentage while having one of the best balls to strike out baseball ratios. His batting title win made him the only player to win the title in both leagues.
The New York Yankees may wait until later in the offseason to make most of their moves to improve the team due to lacking clarity as to what the 2021 season will look like. But if they make any decisions/moves early, it will most likely be to keep DJ LeMahieu in pinstripes.
As I stated before, DJ is 32 years old. He is married to his wife Jordan since 2014, who is a real estate agent. They have decided to keep information about their children under wraps. He is presently living in New York City during the season when he and his wife love the city and be with the Yankees. They have a winter residence in Birmingham, Michigan, where other family members live. LeMahieu immediately blended in with the team and is well-liked in the clubhouse, and is a favorite of fans. The Yankees will do everything in their power to keep DJ in the Yankee lineup for years to come.