New York Yankees: DJ LeMahieu is still MLB’s most undervalued star

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 01: DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees hits a home run to right field in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 01, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 01: DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees hits a home run to right field in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 01, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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DJ LeMahieu in action during the ALDS.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

2. Gold Glove defense all around the diamond

If his offensive production wasn’t enough, LeMahieu is also one of the most rock-solid second basemen in the league. As the everyday second baseman in Colorado, DJ won three Gold Gloves over a five year span from 2014-2018. When he came to the New York Yankees, there was uncertainty where he would play in the infield with Gleyber Torres locked in at Second.

Once his bat became a staple at the top of the lineup, Lemahieu displayed his defensive versatility. He filled in nicely for the injured Miguel Andujar at third base before Gio Urshela’s emergence. When Greg Bird went down, he took a stab at first base, and filled in nicely there as well. Overall, he logged 262 innings at first, 579.2 at second, and 400 at third. He rated above average at all three positions, thus further demonstrating his value to a Yankees team that has been bitten hard by the injury bug in the past two seasons.

In 2020, Lemahieu resumed his role as the everyday second baseman with the departure of shortstop Didi Gregorius. However, manager Aaron Boone still relied heavily on LeMahieu’s versatility late in games, often sliding him over to first base in place of Luke Voit to seal the deal.

For a hitter as prolific as LeMahieu, it is rare for him to also be a high-quality utility player. That is why he could be sought after by many teams for a variety of roles. For example, he could fill the Mets’ void at third base, or become the everyday first baseman in Toronto, allowing Vlad Guerrero Jr. to DH full-time.