Former batting champion DJ LeMahieu is reportedly off the market. Multiple reports are indicating LeMahieu has agreed to terms with the New York Yankees on a two-year deal. The deal is expected to be worth $24 million for the second baseman.
Yankees are closing in on a two-year deal with infielder DJ LeMahieu,
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) January 11, 2019
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 11, 2019
Report: DJ LeMahieu to Sign With New York Yankees
LeMahieu hit a career-high 15 home runs in 2018 while slashing .276/.321/.428 with six steals in 128 games. That power surge was supported by several changes in his batted ball profile (+9.8% FB%, +8.2% Pull%, +3.3% HR/FB%, +4.4% Hard%) and backed up by other quality of contact metrics (.279 XBA/.323 WOBA/.424 XSLG). For the second straight season, LeMahieu failed to steal at least 10 bases, scoring barely positive marks on his baserunning (0.6 UBR). His BABIP (.298) was far below his usual standards (.343 career BABIP), and he will likely see more success in that area next season given his speed and typical approach.
Defensively, LeMahieu shined, as both DRS (18) and UZR (11) rated him first among second basemen last season. He also led the league in rGDP, saving three runs above the average player on double play balls. He provided great overall value for the Rockies last season (3 bWAR) and has averaged at least 2 bWAR every year since 2015.
Looking to 2019, the big question for New York is how LeMahieu’s production will translate away from Coors Field. His home and away splits are extreme, both for 2018 (Home: .317/.360/.433; Away: .229/.277/.422) and his career (Home: .330/.387/.448; Away: .264/.311/.362). One good sign is that his power production has always been better away from Coors Field, though not by much. LeMahieu’s glove will always provide above-average value, even if his offensive numbers dip with the change.
One interesting point of the signing is Jack Curry’s report that the Yankees will utilize LeMahieu around the infield. The ability to play three infield positions should be a big boost. It is also worth noting that LeMahieu’s signing could be further proof that New York is not in the running to sign superstar Manny Machado.
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