The 2021 season was not kind to DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, or Joey Gallo (at least as a Yankee). Whether it was because of injury, being out of position, or being in a new environment, many fans were not happy with these guys’ production last year. I know it’s only a week into the 2022 season, but with some of the takes on Yankees’ Twitter, you’d think these players among others have regressed even further. Has that actually been the case?
Going into Thursday’s game, LeMahieu was hitting .294 with a wRC+ of 191 Last year, he hit .268 and was a league-average hitter (100 wRC+). Late last season it was revealed he was playing with a sports hernia, although he did play in 150 games. Even with a small sample size, what do the Statcast numbers look like?
Hard Hit %
The 2022 XSLG, XWOBA, and hard-hit rate put him in the top nine percent of the league. Yes, it’s early, but it is definitely encouraging to see DJ barreling pitches and hitting them hard. He may never regain his 2019-2020 form, but him being a well above league-average hitter will do wonders for this lineup.
Gallo has certainly run into some bad luck in the first week of the season. Going into last night’s game, he was hitting only .188 but has an XBA of .310. Check out where he ranks in a bunch of different categories:
We all knew his strikeout rate was going to be high and we have to live with that. But Gallo is someone who easily can launch 40 home runs in the middle of the lineup. If he continues hitting the ball the way he has been, those balls will start finding grass or sailing over the wall. So while the standard numbers are not super appealing, fans should be happy with the underlying numbers from his first week.
Gleyber hit .300 in 2021 with a 124 wRC+ when he played second base. Now that he’s back there nearly full time, hopefully his entire game becomes more comfortable for him. One aspect of his game that fans are clamoring for is his power. He hit 24 homers as a rookie in 2018 and followed that up with 38 in 2019 before hitting a combined 12 home runs in 2020 and 2021. Over the last two years, he was hitting fewer fly balls and more ground balls. With that, his slugging took a nosedive.
His average launch angle across the 2018 and 2019 seasons was 18.2 degrees, while it was 14.4 for 2020 and 2021. This year it’s up to 16.9 so far, which is a good sign.
I know it’s only been a week, but the underlying numbers for guys who need a bounce-back season are looking pretty decent so far. Let’s see if they can keep it up and wins back some fans in the Bronx.