When you think of potential MVP candidates on the Yankees, there are quite a few: Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and a former MVP in Giancarlo Stanton come to mind. Even Gerrit Cole can make his case.
But what about DJ LeMahieu?
Yankee fans all know that LeMahieu was the team's MVP last season, breaking out in a big way in his first season in pinstripes. His 2019 campaign was tremendous, with a triple slash of .327/.375/.518, 102 RBI and 26 homers. Overall, he had a 5.9 WAR.
That production from the versatile infielder was recognized by everyone across the league, enough so that LeMahieu finished fourth in AL MVP voting. He had 178 vote points, though Mike Trout -- the eventual winner -- and Alex Bregman were the top two candidates going into it with 355 and 335 points, respectively.
The next closest Yankee was Gleyber Torres, who came in 17th place after setting new career highs in RBI (90), homers (38) and batting average (.278) to name a few. So why is it that Torres has better odds of winning MVP this year than LeMahieu?
PointsBet has posted their future odds for the upcoming 2020 season for many major categories, and when looking at the AL MVP, Torres odds come in at +1200. LeMahieu is further down at +2500.
Here are some other notable odds:
(An example for the below: Odds with a + in front shows how much money would be won on a $100 bet.)
Mike Trout: +135
Aaron Judge: +900
Francisco Lindor: +1400
Alex Bregman: +1800
Shohei Ohtani: +1800
Matt Chapman: +2000
Gerrit Cole: +3000
Josh Donaldson: +3300
Rafael Devers: +3300
Jose Ramirez: +4000
Jose Altuve: +4000
Being the best player in baseball, Trout will of course be at the top of the pack yet again. And even though Judge is still battling his rib injury to return to the lineup, he's up there, too. Though it might seem like hogwash to some, LeMahieu does have a legitimate chance to rival both of them for the award at the end of this shortened season.
For one, it is just that: a shortened season. That means there is less room for error, or to ease one's self into a groove. That truly puts everyone on the same playing field, and LeMahieu can take advantage of that considering he doesn't really need much to get into that groove in the first place.
Also, it helps that LeMahieu should have a permanent position this year at second base. He can get comfortable knowing where he will be playing every game instead of jumping around the infield like he did in 2019. In turn, his WAR has the chance to improve by flashing his always-reliable leather.
It will be tough to match what he did last season, but LeMahieu picked up right where he left off before spring training was suspended. He was hitting over .300, and was spraying the ball all over the place. One might argue, though, that LeMahieu needs to do even better than last year if he wants to be crowned an MVP.
But if you know LeMahieu, you know he won't be sweating that very much. If he can keep that same approach at the plate, make solid contact each time, and come up clutch like he did so many times last season, he could be atop the MVP conversation at some point this season.
Don't sleep on No. 26.