New York Yankees: Three key takeaways from a great first half

DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New York Yankees
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

DJ LeMahieu is the American League MVP

Some baseball purists will put Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, and Jorge Polanco in front of him, but DJ LeMahieu is in my mind the best player in the A.L. and arguably one of the better players in baseball right now. Sure, you could look at that month where all the younger call-ups helped the Yankees’ season. I’m incredibly high on those players massively assisting the team. Without those kids, the Yankees definitely wouldn’t be as well off, but without LeMahieu, the Yankees aren’t even thinking playoffs right now.

This season, DJ is tied for second in Major League Baseball and leads the American League in Batting Average (.330). Other than that, he’s posted 64 RBIs, 12 home runs and a league-leading 79 singles. Looking at it from a statistical standpoint, Trout is leading a lot of categories over LaMaheiu outside of batting average, but let’s look at the phrase ‘Most Valuable Player.’

To me, the legitimacy of this award across all sports has started to diminish a little bit. It seems to be that if a player can hit 45 home runs a season, it automatically puts them in the running. Not saying it’s not an impressive feat, but that’s a different debate for another day, so back to the task at hand. I think that if your team were to lose that player, what would they look like without them? I believe that this season alone (with all of the injuries that the Yankees sustained) if you take both LeMahieu and Trout off of these teams, neither of them are playoff teams. With them, the award should sway in DJ’s favor.

So, we look at Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as a key factor in this debate. LeMaheiu currently has a WAR of 3.6 and Trout has 6.2, the only difference being that the Yankees are in the playoff picture and the Angels are second to last in their division. I know that it’s unfair to base the MVP award off of the overall quality of a team, but if LeMaheiu wasn’t on the Yankees, I doubt they would be winning the division or even holding the Wild Card. What’s the difference if Trout isn’t on the Angels? They still aren’t going to make the playoffs with or without him, and I think if you’re the MVP, you should be good enough to at least put your team in a position to contend no matter how hard the situation is.

I think that the Yankees situation earlier this year was worse than what the Angels have had to deal with but if Los Angeles can turn it around in the second half, make the playoffs and Trout is the driving force, then no doubt he’s the MVP. Right now though, it’s tough for me to give it to anyone else but DJ if the season ended today.