MINNEAPOLIS — As DJ LeMahieu tried to regulate to the pop-up hit by Christian Arroyo in the course of the prime of the eighth in The Bronx on Sunday night time, with Chris Gittens wanting on from first and Clint Frazier late to get to the play briefly proper discipline, it was maybe an ideal synopsis of the Yankees season to this point.
As tough as 2021 has been on many of his teammates — and on offenses all through the majors — few have seen their manufacturing drop off like LeMahieu.
The group’s most constant producer over the earlier two seasons has been amongst their most vital disappointments.
He’s bounced across the infield, from his standard second base spot, to first — the place Luke Voit has been out with a number of accidents and the Yankees have been unable to discover a appropriate substitute — to 3rd, when he’s stuffed in for Gio Urshela.
Moving across the infield, although, wasn’t a problem for LeMahieu in his first two years in The Bronx and he insists it’s not now, both.
To clarify the league-wide offensive struggles, some scouts have pointed to the brand new ball being utilized by MLB this season — or the overseas substances pitchers have allegedly been utilizing greater than ever, which the league intends to begin cracking down on within the coming weeks.
That could show to be excellent news for LeMahieu, whose numbers have been down all yr and have gotten even worse these days.
After going 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts in Sunday’s loss, LeMahieu is now 22-for-101 in his final 26 video games. In that stretch, he has only one extra-base hit, 5 RBIs and 11 walks to associate with 22 strikeouts and an OPS of .517.
Not surprisingly, Aaron Boone tried to look on the intense aspect of LeMahieu’s efficiency following Sunday’s sport.
“There’s been times, especially over the last 10 days or two weeks, where he’s hit into some tough luck,’’ Boone said. “And I feel like he’s really close with his flat swing and getting some good swings off.”
That’s tremendous for every week of slumping, possibly two. But LeMahieu has been off practically all season.
The ball principle makes some sense.
LeMahieu’s ground-ball charge is round his profession common (55.1 % in ’21, 53.5 % for his profession, in keeping with Fangraphs) and his fly-ball charge is really a bit increased than it sometimes is (23.6 to 22.9).
What’s noticeably totally different is his homer-to-fly ball ratio, which was 19.3 % in his first season as a Yankee in 2019 and 27 % a yr in the past. It’s dropped to 7.1 % this season.
He’s additionally putting out at practically twice the speed as in 2020 (17.9 % to 9.7).
It all comes within the first season of a six-year, $90 million deal after the Yankees made re-signing LeMahieu the highest precedence of the offseason.
For now, LeMahieu and his .335 on-base proportion stay within the leadoff spot.
Moving him down within the lineup would possibly sound logical, however solely Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres have a greater quantity.
The Yankees’ points on the plate have confirmed to be extra problematic than mentioning a minor leaguer to offer a spark — like Gittens, overmatched in opposition to the Red Sox in his first MLB motion — or shaking up the batting order.
They merely want dependable threats to reside as much as their reputations.
A go to to the Twins would possibly assist, because the Yankees are inclined to feast on the AL Central, however even that hasn’t all the time held kind this season — like after they bought swept in Detroit simply over every week in the past.