First of all, this isn't your standard player A vs. player B blind resume. But I will start with an opening hint. I am from New York, and I am a Yankees fan. This has caused me to be a fan of tall middle infielders, who hit for a high average, don't strike out a lot, hit the ball to the opposite field, and are regarded as good fielders. Now let the games begin. I am intentionally not telling you the time frame in which the statistics I am listing occurred, but all come courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Heat Maps
- Unknown player has lead Major League Baseball in balls hit to the opposite field.
- Unknown player is top 5 in lowest soft hit %
- Unknown player is #1 in medium hit%
- Unknown player is amongst the top 10 lowest in infield fly ball %
- Unknown player is top 10 in line drive % (unstable sample size, but still note worthy)
- Unknown player consistently puts up steal totals between 10-20
- Out of 268 qualified players, unknown player has the 69th longest homerun and fly ball distance in his best year.
Now this player has had multiple seasons of excellent fielding, and has won at least one gold glove. Metrics on him give mixed results, but if he can get to the ball, he fields it.
The player I have been describing has the initials DJ... D.J. LaMahieu.
I have watched over a thousand hits by Derek Jeter, and what LeMahieu is doing this year is strikingly similar to the career Jeter put up. Now obviously pitchers are throwing harder, defenses now use special alignments, and LaMahieu is no Derek Jeter. The game has changed. But in his age 26 season (turned 27 a month ago), LeMahieu has improved. He's still a light-hitting (in the home run department) player despite being listed at 6'4" 215lbs, and that's ok. Hits are hits, and in Coors, he's taking full advantage of the average boosting ways of Colorado. At home he is slashing .341/.408/.454 (862 OPS), on the road he is hitting .301/.351/.388 (740 OPS). His 64R, 5HR, 45RBI, 17SB, .321 BA have made him the 3rd most valuable player in 5x5.
His competition right now is minimal; Trevor Story has been up and down during his minor league career, and frankly is very difficult to trust. Jose Reyes has already been shopped, and has cleared waivers. This will likely open up a spot for Story unless they deal Reyes for a better SS option until 2015 1st rounder Brendan Rodgers is ready for the MLB, but that is years away from happening.
What I'm getting at is that LeMahieu is doing a good job in Colorado, is posting an amazing year that has been largely ignored by the media, and deserves more fantasy attention. There isn't any part of his game that screams that he should be doing worse. He won't be the flashy chip that launches your team into the stratosphere, but in all likelihood, at the end of 2015, he'll have been better than what you were starting this season. There is essentially no pressure on DJ LeMahieu, and he's performing well, albeit unnoticed. In a dynasty league, there are many options i would rather have at 2B, but he is performing and has created value for himself, think along the lines of Howie Kendrick. Lastly, he is not a free agent until 2019, so if you do want to invest on him for the long haul, he is owned by the Rockies for quiet a few more years.
While DJ may not be short for Derek Jeter Lemahieu, it sure seems like it's a possibility this year.