Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu ranks in the top 10 in the American League in batting average (.311). He is tied with Gary Sanchez for the team lead with a 2.0 WAR.
And he has been among the most clutch players in baseball.
Thrust into a starting role upon injuries to Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki, LeMahieu has taken full advantage by becoming one of the most reliable Yankees in the lineup.
And it's not an exaggeration.
Here are three statistics that explain how important LeMahieu has been for the 38-20 Yankees.
Statistically speaking, LeMahieu has been one of the most clutch players this season.
A player's clutch score, as defined by FanGraphs, measures how much better or worse a player fares in high-leverage situations (more on that in a bit) compared to other neutral-game situations. FanGraphs
For example, players who have the same batting average in high-leverage situations and context-neutral situations wouldn't be considered clutch.
FanGraphs' measurement ranks players with a score of 0.5 as above average, 1.0 as great and 2.0 as excellent. And LeMahieu ranks seventh in the majors with a 0.80 clutch score. Among the players ahead of him include the Phillies' Bryce Harper (1.01, first) and Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (0.88, fourth).
Of course, hitting a walk-off single to cap a ninth-inning rally in a 5-4 win over the Mariners in early May helps, too.
DJ Hero 🎧 pic.twitter.com/TIJPRkSXMh- New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 8, 2019
Runners in scoring position
Situational hitting is one of LeMahieu's strengths. Among players with at least 20 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, LeMahieu's .458 batting average ranks third. He is 22-for-48 with no home runs and 25 RBIs. With two outs and runners in scoring position, he has a .393/.452/.393 batting line.
Meanwhile, when the bases are empty, he is slashing just .259/.315/.422.
When LeMahieu is up in high-leverage situations -- plate appearances that more significantly impact win probability, according to Baseball-Reference -- he shines.
LeMahieu's .556 batting average in high-leverage situations is far and away the best in baseball for players with at least 25 plate appearances in said situations, according to Talkin' Yanks' Katie Sharp. By comparison, Freddie Freeman ranks second with a .424 average in said situations.
LeMahieu is 15-for-27 in high-leverage situations. He has a 1.192 OPS in those moments. He has driven in 17 runs and scored 16 more.
When the game is not in the balance, his numbers are lower. In medium-leverage moments, he is slashing .242/.318/.368; in low-leverage situations, he hits .310/.341/.483.
Sparking a rally
When the game is late and close -- in the seventh inning or later with the batting team tied, up by one or with the tying run at least on deck -- LeMahieu is 9-for-30. This season, regardless of the margin of the score, he is hitting .339/.377/.464 between the seventh and ninth innings.
But more than the late-game moments are how he hits when the Yankees don't have the lead.
With the Yankees up, he hits .235/.283/.412. In tie games, his numbers go up to .348/.394/.455. And when they're trailing? .379/.433/.500.
In fact, LeMahieu has 10 go-ahead hits this season. That puts him in a tie for 13th in the majors, while the leader, Christian Yelich, has 15, according to Statcast.