Not much about 2020 looks the way it did in 2019.
DJ LeMahieu does. Perhaps even better.
The second baseman did it all Wednesday night, recording four hits and also making plays with his glove and legs in the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Braves at Yankee Stadium.
Even after a delayed arrival to spring training 2.0, due to testing positive for COVID-19, LeMahieu has raced off to a hot start to the season. He went 4-for-5 Wednesday with a triple, scored two runs and drove in another. The Yankees are through 18 games and LeMahieu is now batting .431 (28-for-65), sitting atop the American League batting race.
“Yeah, he’s pretty good,” manager Aaron Boone said with a chuckle. “He’s picked up from where he left off last year. Just completely setting the tone for us at the top of the order.”
DJ LeMahieu belts a single during the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Braves on Wednesday.N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg
While the legitimacy of a batter hitting .400 in a 60-game season has been questioned, LeMahieu is beginning to at least put himself in the conversation with nearly a third of the schedule over. The 2016 National League batting champ (.348) has some company in his old league, as Charlie Blackmon (.500) and Donovan Solano (.458) entered Wednesday batting above .400.
“I think it’s possible,” LeMahieu said when asked about hitting .400. “I’m definitely not focused on that. Baseball is way too hard to try to do that. … In two months of baseball, there’s going to be some eye-popping stats and a lot of surprises.”
The pending free agent delivered another reminder of his value while he was in the field, too. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the third, the Braves had runners on first and second for Adam Duvall, who slapped a ground ball to second base. LeMahieu was shifted over toward shortstop, allowing Duvall to leg out an infield single, but he raced over to get his glove on it to keep a run from scoring. Masahiro Tanaka retired the next batter, stranding all three runners.
LeMahieu, who just missed out on the AL batting title last year with a .327 average, singled to right field three times, one of which sparked a fourth-inning rally that put the Yankees ahead for good. He came around to score from first on Aaron Hicks’ double off the center-field wall, sliding away from the tag at home. He later topped off his night with a triple to center field.
“I feel pretty locked in right now,” LeMahieu said. “Just part of a really good lineup.”