Embed from Getty Images
Move over Afrojack, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, and Deadmau5. There’s a hot new French D.J. in town based out of Denver, Colorado by the name of LeMahieu, and he’s here to drop some sick beats and the illest remixes that will bring all the ladies to the club.
Actually, not really. D.J. LeMahieu is not really a music D.J. Instead, he is the second baseman for the Colorado Rockies who is most well known for his glove work on the defensive side of the ball, but this season he has been laying down the beat by spinning the hits game after game. His latest “mash-up,” if you will, came on Monday when he went 3 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored, and he is now slashing .342/.394/.439 with 3 HR, 28 RBI, 27 R, and 5 SB.
LeMahieu began the season hitting 8th for the Rockies, but has since worked his way up to be the regular 2-hole hitter. The move up in the order likely has something to do with the fact that the Rockies have had to deal with injuries to Corey Dickerson and Justin Morneau, and slumping performances from Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, but LeMahieu has surely earned it.
LeMahieu’s .342 AVG is being supported by a high .403 BABIP, but he did come into the season with a career BABIP over .330 and he does call Coors Field his home. So while the BABIP over .400 is not sustainable, he still should be able to post a higher than average clip, especially given the way that he is hitting line drives at 29.2% of the time for 4th highest mark in the league, and how he is avoiding soft contact with the ball at 10.4% for the 10th lowest in the league. He is one of four players to appear in the top 10 in each of those categories (Brandon Belt, Jason Kipnis, and Freddie Freeman are the others).
What is also encouraging about LeMahieu is that even though his home stadium is Coors Field in the thin air of Denver, he has been hitting well on the road as well despite being a much better home hitter in his previous Major League seasons. So far he has posted a home triple slash line of .358/.414/.472 and a very respectable road line of .322/.371/.400. Also in his favor is that he has traditionally been better against same-handed pitching, which is right-handed for him, and since the majority of the pitchers in the league are right-handed, he has a bit of an edge there. He is hitting .356/.396/.483 versus righties this season. Furthermore, LeMahieu is spraying the ball to all parts of the field, which displays his maturation as a hitter and gives even more reason to believe that he can remain a .300 hitter for the first time in his career. His pull % has dipped from 28.1% last year to 19.6% this year.
However, something that has been a bit disappointing from LeMahieu in his time in the Majors is his lack of power. Whenever I watch him play, he looks like a pretty monstrous sized player, especially for a second baseman, and I wonder how he does not have better power at the plate. He stands at 6’4″ and 205 lbs. so he’s surely got a big frame that I would imagine can have more power. LeMahieu will soon be 27 and with that size I think that he should have some double digit HR seasons in him as he enters his prime. Maybe it won’t be this year, maybe it will, but it’s quite the wonder how his previous season high at any professional level has only been 5 HR.
In the speed department, LeMahieu has the upside to reach 20 SB. In 2013, he stole 8 bases at AAA in 33 games and he stole 18 bases at the Major League level in 109 games, so the speed is there. However, last year in a full season playing 149 games for the Rockies, he only swiped 10 bags. But getting more hits like he has been this year to be on base more should open up more opportunities for him to steal bases. Maybe he doesn’t get to 20, but 15 is well within reach.
So with all this being said, I feel that LeMahieu is an underrated fantasy option, which feels a bit weird to say for any Rockies hitter because usually the Rockies hitters get more than enough love for the favorable home park advantage. But since LeMahieu has not done much in his previous three seasons with the Rockies, not a whole lot was expected of him in 2015. But with these improvements that he is showing, he needs to be given much better fantasy consideration, especially if he continues to hit second in the Rockies lineup. Hitting second for the Rockies makes his run potential very high without limiting his RBI and SB chances a whole lot. It really is the ideal spot for him. Oh, and of course the Coors Field factor doesn’t hurt his cause.
For the rest of the season from June 9 onward, I will give him the line of: .295 AVG, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 54 R, 10 SB, 67 K, 27 BB in 380 AB
Let’s check out the rest of Monday’s action!