DJ LeMahieu wasn’t an MVP finalist, but he did pick up an offseason award.
LeMahieu, who showed he can play every infield position effective, except shortstop, won the Silver Slugger Award as the best-hitting second baseman in the American League on Thursday. He beat out the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve who had won the award for five consecutive seasons.
It’s a small consolation for New York Yankees fans who likely felt LeMahieu should have been one of the three AL MVP finalists. Mike Trout, Mike Siemian and Alex Bregman were the three finalists chosen for the AL.
It’s the first Silver Slugger for LeMahieu, even though he won a batting title for the Colorado Rockies in 2016.
LeMahieu, who signed a two-year, $24 million deal last offseason, turned out to be a steal for the Yankees. He batted .327 and set career-highs in homers (26), doubles (33) and RBIs (102) in 145 games. He also made the All-Star team for the third time in his career.
More importantly for the Yankees, LeMahieu had the knack for getting the big hit, and that didn’t change in the playoffs.
In Game 6 of the ALCS against the Astros and his team down to its final two outs in the top of the ninth and trailing by a pair of runs, LeMahieu belted a two-run homer off Astros closer Roberto Osuna that tied the game at 4. It momentarily silenced the crowd at Minute Maid Park, but the momentum shifted right back in the Astros favor when Altuve crushed the Yankees’ hopes in the bottom of the inning with a game-winning, two-run homer off Aroldis Chapman.
The last Yankee to win a Silver Slugger was catcher Gary Sanchez in 2017. The award is given out annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and National League, and voted by the coaches and managers.
The Yankees also gave LeMahieu a congratulatory shout out on Twitter.
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