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New York Yankees: Top 3 surprise players up to the All-Star break

by Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have been plagued by the injury bug this year that has affected nearly every unit on the team. The starting pitching has been hit very hard as well as the bullpen, but luckily the run support has been fantastic for the Bombers as they have the second-best record in baseball.

Up to this point just before the All-Star break, the Yanks have been saved by various players that have emerged to supplement the deficiencies on the team.

Here are the New York Yankees top 3 surprises:

1.) Gio Urshela

As a career .227 hitter before coming to New York, Urshela is having easily his best season this year with a .309 batting average. Seven homers and 39 RBIs has helped the Yankees crawl out of tight windows and win close games when the pitching has lacked ineffectiveness.

In addition, his defensive abilities at the hot corner have been stellar. He’s been a major upgrade defensively over Miguel Andujar and his offensive production has been just as good if not better. The emergence of Urshela couldn’t have been better timed, as he’s been a true impact player for the Bombers this season and will be needed during an expected playoff run.

2.) DJ LeMahieu

While the former Colorado Rockies infielder was already a quality player before putting on the Pinstripes, his influence for the Yankees has been more than impactful. Hitting .336 on the year with 12 homers and 63 RBIs has easily earned him an All-Star selection and reason to believe he could be in the lead for the MVP award.

A two-year, $26 million deal is looking like a steal at this point and I would even expect GM Brian Cashman to extend the contract after this season. His ability to move around the infield and play at every position is extremely beneficial and valuable for a team that struggled with injuries in the infield.

Hitting .461 with runners in scoring position is the best in the MLB for players with a minimum of 15 RISP at-bats, and he’s had an impressive 75.

He once again came up clutch against the Tampa Bay Rays a few nights ago, hitting a game-sealing single that drove in two runs and captured the league. He was 0-for-4 before earning his first hit of the night. The clutchness he’s brought to the Yankees has been unbelievable.

“I feel like it’s my turn to make a mark on the game,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to put runs on the board. I keep saying the approach doesn’t change, but I think there’s a certain level of focus there in situations like that.”

3.) Cameron Maybin

While Maybin is currently on the 10-day injured list with a grade 2 left calf strain, his influence this year has been impressive. Another average player that has flourished in Pinstripes. As a .250 career hitter, Maybin is batting .314 with the Yankees and was previously on a home run streak before his injury.

His authority in the absence of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton was exactly what the Yankees needed. The injury bug gave the opportunity to multiple players to show their value and make a difference for a team with World Series hopes and potential — the former Mariner and Marlin has taken advantage of that reality.

Cameron’s defense has been equally impressive to his offense, allowing zero errors over 41 total games this season. To put that into perspective, Clint Frazier had three errors in 29 total games. That’s a big reason Frazier was sent back down to the minor leagues and Maybin was retained on the active roster.

His return will give the Yanks a solid cushion while Stanton works his way back from his latest ailment.

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