Yankees have their leadoff spot locked down, even with DJ LeMahieu returning

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres, anthony volpe
David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports

At long last, New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu appears to have left behind his foot injury and looks set to make his regular-season debut.

If you can recall, he was originally Aaron Boone’s top choice to hit leadoff this season, but the manager was forced to adjust on the go when LeMahieu went down with his foot fracture.

Ultimately, he chose Anthony Volpe, and the young shortstop won’t be going anywhere, even with LeMahieu’s pending return.

Volpe has earned the right to keep leadoff duties for himself after riding a 19-game hitting streak, not to mention the fact that the Yankees offense is clicking like never before this year. There is absolutely no reason to mess around with anything.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, anthony volpe
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are riding with Volpe at the leadoff spot

Even as the Yankees lost on Sunday, Volpe went 1-for-3 with a walk to extend his hitting streak to 19 games. That, according to the New York Post, is the longest in franchise history since Derek Jeter in 2012.

“Just a continuing, evolving, outstanding player that’s hungry, had the ability to make adjustments and just on [base] a lot in front of some great, great hitters,” Boone said. “That’s crucial and been a driving force for our offense.”

For the season, Volpe is hitting .282/.355/.435 with six home runs, 11 stolen bases, 36 runs scored, and a .791 OPS. LeMahieu is one of the most respected players on the Yankees, but recent performance indicates that he is unlikely to contribute those numbers, and the Yanks need someone who consistently makes things happen on the basepaths in front of Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton, among others.

The idea is to let LeMahieu return at his own pace in a relatively low-leverage spot in the lineup instead of throwing him right into the fire in a top slot.

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