After an incredible 2019 and 2020 season, New York Yankees star infielder, DJ LeMahieu took a step back in 2021. Some thought maybe turning 32 years old had something to do with his regression, but it was actually a significant injury that hampered his quality of play.
During the second half of the season, LeMahieu dealt with a serious sports hernia, forcing him out for a number of games but trying his best to still make an impact when possible. He finished the year hitting .268 with 10 homers and 57 RBIs. This was his worst batting average since 2014 with the Colorado Rockies at 25 years old.
Yankees officials believe DJ LeMahieu’s lackluster 2021 could be traced to a sports hernia that the infielder tried to play through before finally getting surgery after the season, The New York Post’s Dan Martin writes.
LeMahieu ended up receiving surgery after the season so he should be a full go for the 2022 campaign. However, with general manager Brian Cashman still needing to sign a number of players, including a shortstop and first baseman, LeMahieu’s position could change in the coming months.
DJ has experience at nearly every spot in the infield, including 1B, 2B, SS, and 3B. There is a growing belief that LeMahieu could end up starting the season on the hot corner given the Yankees trade or part ways with Gio Urshela, who is set to earn $6 million this upcoming season.
The former Colorado star has spent 143 games and over 1,000 innings at third base in his career, posting a .945 fielding percentage with a -2 defensive runs saved above average. He’s a below-average defender on the hot corner, but giving him more of a sample size could turn those numbers around.
Alternatively, the Yankees could make DJ their starting first baseman and spend money at third base. It all depends on how they maneuver around Gleyber Torres and if he might be included in a potential trade. A lot of off-season is left for the Yankees after the lockout ends so expect them to move quickly and aggressively for the players and trades they want to execute.