Location, universally associated with value in real estate, can also be applicable to fantasy baseball. For instance, where a person hits in the lineup can yield more counting statistics due to volume or opportunity. It's also applicable to where a player accrues roughly half of his numbers in regards to his home ballpark. DJ LeMahieu agreed to a six-year contract to remain with the Yankees which insulates some of the concerns about his power totals after becoming a free agent.

Prior to his original signing with New York, LeMahieu's tendency to hit the ball to the opposite field made leaving Coors Field for Yankee Stadium a lateral one. In fact, one could argue LeMahieu has been a better hitter during his time with the Yankees. Here are his career numbers with each franchise:

  • LeMahieu with Colorado (Seven Years): 918 games, 3,737 plate appearances, 498 runs, 49 home runs, 345 RBI, 75 stolen bases; .299/.352/.408, 7.4 BB%, 15.1 BB%, 93 OPS+
  • LeMahieu with New York (Two Years): 195 games, 871 plate appearances, 150 runs, 36 home runs, 129 RBI, 8 stolen bases; .336/.386/.536, 7.3 BB%, 12.7 K%, 145 OPS+

During the truncated 2020 season, LeMahieu led the majors with a .364 batting average over his 50 contests with the Yankees. He scored 41 runs with ten home runs, 27 RBI and three stolen bases while recording one of four on-base plus slugging percentages greater than one thousand among qualified hitters (1.011 - best in the American League). Since joining the Yankees, LeMahieu's second in baseball hitting with runners in scoring position with a .384 average (61-for-159) and he leads the majors with 80 multiple hit games.

Fueling his second career batting title, LeMahieu benefited from an 8.3 walk percentage while reducing his strikeout rate in 2020 to 9.7 percent. He also notched a career high weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .429 with an unsustainable .370 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). His swinging strike percentage fell to 4.5 percent with an elite 94.4 Z-Contact (in the strike zone) rate and 87.1 contact percentage.

According to Statcast, LeMahieu produced 175 batted ball events last season with five barrels (2.9 percent), a 91.3 MPH average exit velocity and 45.7 percent hard hit rate. His sweet spot percentage fell to 29.7 percent as did his expected on-base average on contact (xwOBAcon) to .359 compared to .376 representing league average. Since the expected numbers on this site reflect quality of contact, it's no surprise seeing his expected batting average of .315 (still very good) and .462 expected slugging sit below his actual numbers. However, the divide between his wOBA (.429) and his expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) of .355 hints at some migration to the mean in 2021.

Within his discipline metrics, LeMahieu upped his zone contact percentage by 3.5 points on Statcast to 92.9 percent along with his chase contact rising by 6.2 points to 77.8 percent. As one would expect, LeMahieu's swing percentage declined slightly but his whiff percentage fell to 11.2 percent, a career low.

His batted ball data show some of the concerns regarding his quality of contact. LeMahieu's ground ball rate spiked to 57.1 percent, up over seven percent against his total in 2019 while his fly ball rate fell as a result. LeMahieu also recorded an opposite field rate of 43.4, his highest total since 2015. It may be digging for points of regression with LeMahieu ranking in the 97th percentile in xBA, the 100th percentile in strikeout percentage and 99th percentile in whiff rate but one of his ten home runs qualify in the no-doubt (out of any MLB ballpark) combined with a lack of barrels make his power numbers seem inflated.

A bonus of getting LeMahieu in fantasy resides in his pocket stolen bases. He swiped three bases in 2020 but his speed percentile slipped to 31st in the majors down from the 47th percentile in 2019. If paying full price for his draft capital, one must factor for some losses in batting average, home runs and even a stolen base or two if these results carry over.

In an effort to gather larger samples of production, LeMahieu's numbers from the second half of 2019 through last season along with his last three years help in this venture.

  • LeMahieu 2H 2019-through-2020: 114 games, 504 plate appearances, 85 runs, 24 home runs, 66 RBI, four stolen bases; .336/.389/.549, 7.7 BB%, 11.5 K%, .213 ISO, .395 wOBA
  • LeMahieu Last 3 Years: 326 games, 1,461 plate appearances, 240 runs, 51 home runs, 191 RBI, 14 stolen bases; .311/.359/.491, 6.9 BB%, 13.3 K%, .179 ISO, .361 wOBA

Appreciating LeMahieu's ability to hit to all fields, first check out this career spray chart courtesy of Statcast:

There's no discounting his ability to hit to the opposite field with aplomb like a former Yankees infielder, Derek Jeter. However, LeMahieu's zone profile from last year hints at some pullback on his power numbers no matter the effects of Yankee Stadium:

Staying with the Yankees insulates his other counting statistics like runs and RBI. His average should stay in the .290-to-.315 range as well as his projections reflect:

  • LeMahieu 2021 Steamer projection: 150 games, 683 plate appearances, 96 runs, 21 home runs, 75 RBI, seven stolen bases; .289/.348/.448, 7.7 BB%, 14 K%, .159 ISO, .338 wOBA
  • LeMahieu 2021 THE BAT X projections: 151 games, 660 plate appearances, 89 runs, 18 home runs, 75 RBI, five stolen bases; .297/.358/443, 8.3 BB%, 13.7 K%, .146 ISO, .347 wOBA
  • LeMahieu 2021 ZiPS projection: 135 games, 598 plate appearances, 92 runs, 18 home runs, 74 RBI, six stolen bases; .306/.357/.463, 7.2 BB%, 13.5 K%, .158 ISO, .334 wOBA

When breaking each into statistics per plate appearance, ZiPS and Steamer project LeMahieu's power almost exactly with THE BAT X coming in below. Not much variance in regards to runs or RBI as intimated throughout the profile, these remain stable staying in New York. Deciding what price to pay to roster LeMahieu in terms of power and average provide the most variance but it's more likely he hits .300 or better in 2021 than repeating the 26 home runs from 2019.

There are many ways to build a roster in drafts or auctions, so if one values batting average highly, LeMahieu provides a worthy skill set as a baseline to take chances on power hitters with low averages later in drafts.


Statistical Credits:



ZiPS courtesy of Dan Szymborski


THE BAT X courtesy of Derek Carty

MLB.com - Game Note