New York Yankees couldn’t have made the ALCS without one monster player

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Baseball is a team sport, but for the New York Yankees, it seems as if one player in particular completely willed them to the postseason and ALCS series. Utility-man DJ LeMahieu is the man of honor, finishing the year with an astounding .327 batting average, hitting 26 homers and 102 RBIs.

LeMahieu’s stellar campaign ended gloriously, attempting to drag his team back into the ALCS by the skin of his teeth. He blasted an opposite-field home run to tie the game 4-4 in the ninth-inning, giving his exhausted team a chance to fight back and find a way to secure the win.

“It kind of embodies his season — that at-bat, so good,’’ manager Aaron Boone said. “Off their closer, obviously. Just a really good battle and spoiled pitches, spoiled pitches, finally got one he could handle and ride out of there. As that at-bat’s going on, I just felt so good about him doing something. I knew he was going to put it in play hard somewhere and sure enough he did. What more can you say about the season he’s had?”

No more than 15 minutes later, Houston Astros mighty midget, Jose Altuve, hit a walk-off dinger to send them to the World Series and the Yankees back to the brisk Bronx. However, this doesn’t denounce the quality season DJ enjoyed and what he did for the team.

Ultimately, it was a harsh way to lose, and the entire tea believed they had a chance to reach the World Series. It boiled down to the bottom of the 9th inning, where Aroldis Chapman sealed the game with a hanging slider.

How impactful was DJ LeMahieu for the New York Yankees?

No matter what you say about the Yankees, LeMahieu was the best part of their season. General manager Brian Cashman struck gold on a two-year deal worth $24 million for the contact hitter. While his offense was a significant part of his success, the former Rockie’s defense is what made him a staple for the future.

Acting as a utility man, LeMahieu played nearly every position in the infield, even at first base, where he had never previously featured. Playing the entire back-end of the regular season at first with Luke Voit and Edwin Encarnacion out, DJ allowed two errors over 40 games.

Compare that to Voit, for example, who allowed seven errors over 83 games, and you see just how valuable the 30-year-old is. The Yankees grabbed a steal with the utility-man, and he will undoubtedly be a focal point moving forward. Cashman is preparing to splash the cash on premium pitching talent, which should give the team a leg up next season. Starting pitching was the downfall of the team this year.