Batting champ LeMahieu an AL MVP finalist

November 12th, 2020

NEW YORK -- For the past two years, the Yankees have considered to be their most valuable player. Could “The Machine” become the American League’s MVP, as well?

LeMahieu was named a finalist for the AL MVP Award, listed alongside José Abreu of the White Sox and José Ramírez of the Indians. The winner, as voted on by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, will be announced on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

The first Yankees MVP finalist since finished second to the Astros’ Jose Altuve in 2017, LeMahieu posted a terrific season on both sides of the ball. He led the AL with a .364 batting average.

It was the second career batting title for LeMahieu, who led the National League in hitting as a member of the Rockies in 2016. LeMahieu is the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to lead both the AL and the NL in hitting.

In 50 games, LeMahieu compiled a .364/.421/.590 slash line with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. He led the AL in on-base percentage, OPS (1.011) and OPS+ (177) while appearing at three infield positions.

“If you take a snapshot of the last two years, you can probably count on one hand how many players have been as good as DJ LeMahieu and how important they've been to their team,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said recently. “All I can tell you is he's been a pleasure to manage. He's a special player and a special person.”

The Yankees have not had an AL MVP Award winner since 2007, when Alex Rodriguez received 26 of 28 possible first-place votes.

LeMahieu finished fourth in the AL MVP balloting in 2019, when he batted .327/.375/.518 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs in 145 games. LeMahieu also received MVP consideration in 2016, when he paced the Majors with a .348 batting average.

This week, LeMahieu received a qualifying offer from the Yankees, valued at one year and $18.9 million. LeMahieu has until Nov. 11 to decide whether he will accept the offer. If he rejects it, LeMahieu will become a free agent.

“All I know is we've been fortunate to have a great player and a great person at the top of our lineup the last couple years,” Boone said.