DJ LeMahieu is one of the many Yankees players that has shown up a bit early to spring training camp. He, along the likes of others like Stanton and Judge, decided it was best to get started sooner than later this spring. He was shown fielding grounders at 3B, and it looks like his toe isn’t giving him any problems as of this moment.
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DJ LeMahieu needs to be healthy if the Yankees wants to win it all:
DJ’s toe is going to be something that is constantly monitored throughout not just Spring Training but likely the season itself as well. He was, fortunately, able to avoid having to need surgery on the toe, though that doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods just yet. His rehab and offseason recovery should put him in a great spot to begin this season, but one can be confident that the Yanks will pay close attention to the amount of work he sees early on.
Last year, injuries were the straw that broke this Yankee camel’s back, as come postseason time, they sputtered and faltered. DJ’s absence was clearly noted, and even before the postseason, he wasn’t himself. Up until August, LeMahieu was on pace for one of the best seasons of his career. In the first half of the year, he posted a 132 wRC+, OPSd .786, and was on pace for roughly a 5-6 fWAR season. Sadly, his toe injury severely ruined his year and made it, so he was hindered at every turn. He posted just a 86 wRC+ and a .635 OPS the second half of the season.
If DJ can stay healthy and looks as good as he does this early on in workouts, that will be huge for the Yanks. Having a healthy DJ would mean that the team would have one of the best in baseball at putting the bat to the ball, as well as a guy who continues to improve across the board, despite not having as much HR power as he did with juiced balls (duh). He walked 12.4% of the time, which was a career-best, and only struck out 13.1% of the time. His approach was one of the best on the team, and having him leadoff to set the table could lead to a fantastic season for the lineup as a whole.
DJ’s role cannot be understated, and if he’s able to bounce back and put together a healthy year, he should genuinely be looked at as an under-the-radar MVP candidate. He’s got all the tools, plays exceptional defense at whichever position he’s stationed at for the day, and brings a much-needed different skillset than other stars on the squad. Having a healthy DJ could’ve definitely improved the postseason performance, even if it may not have changed the end result.