DJ LeMahieu flew under the radar a bit in 2015 despite putting together a solid year, but he made the league take notice with his 2016 showing. After putting up a solid .746 OPS in 2015, he broke out to the tune of a .348/.416/.495 line, winning the National League batting title. He also put up career highs in doubles (32), RBI (66) and runs (104). The All-Star even muscled up for 11 home runs, equaling the number he hit over the previous two years combined. Thanks to all of this and an outstanding 0.83 BB/K, LeMahieu has become a steady mid-tier option at the keystone, but the longevity of his current levels of production will hinge on his future with the Rockies. He's under club control with Colorado through the 2018 campaign. LeMahieu hit .303/.353/.395 with four of his 11 homers on the road in 2016, while his output soared to a .391/.473/.591 line at Coors Field.
Rockies manager Bud Black said he'll likely keep LeMahieu near the top of the lineup, Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post reports. In this case, the 2016 NL batting champion again will occupy the two-hole most often behind Charlie Blackmon. LeMahieu crossed the plate 104 times last year, which fueled his fantasy value just as much as the .348 batting average, and keeping a spot near the top increases the odds he'll come close to scoring that much again in this lethal lineup. This news doesn't make Trevor Story owners happy. He'd likely bat seventh with LeMahieu at No. 2.
LeMahieu is out of the lineup Sunday against the Brewers. The Rockies will hold LeMahieu out during the season finale in order to protect his .348 average on the season, which will allow him to claim the NL batting title by a narrow margin over the Nationals' Daniel Murphy. Pat Valaika will man second base with LeMahieu sitting out.
LeMahieu is out of the lineup Saturday against the Brewers, MLB.com's Thomas Harding reports. He has just two at-bats in the last three games, as the Rockies are intent on getting LeMahieu the NL batting title. His batting average sits at .348 while Daniel Murphy's is at .347, and considering Murphy won't return until the postseason, it's plausible that LeMahieu won't receive another plate appearance this year in order to make sure he gets the batting crown. Daniel Descalso will start at the keystone and hit second.
LeMahieu is out of the lineup for the second straight night Thursday against the Giants, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. This looks like a continued effort from manager Walt Weiss to help LeMahieu in his chase for the National League batting title. Sitting the keystoner, who's hitting .349 along with 11 homers, 103 runs scored and 11 stolen bases, against a tough arm like Cueto seems to fit that plan. At least an NL batting title gives Colorado something to play -- or in this case, not play -- for. The Rockies deployed a similar plan for Justin Morneau down the stretch when he won the honor in 2014. He'll probably suit up at least once more before the end of the year, but his owners will have to check his daily status. On Thursday, Daniel Descalso will slide over to second and occupy the two hole.
LeMahieu went 2-for-5 with a double, a run and three RBI against the Dodgers on Monday. LeMahieu has put up two multi-hit games in three tries since returning from a minor wrist injury, pushing his average up to .344 along the way. He's hitting an even .400 at home, so owners should be licking their chops with the Rockies at Coors Field for their next eight games.