The Colorado Rockies, Walt Weiss Are Correct To Sit DJ LeMahieu


Sep 27, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies second baseman D. LeMahieu (9) hits an RBI single during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies aren’t playing for anything, so when they decided to sit down their .302-hitting second baseman on Friday night, they made the right decision. 

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The Colorado Rockies didn’t play DJ LeMahieu on Friday night, a curious decision considering there are only a couple games left in the year, LeMahieu has been an everyday starter for the club all season, and, well, he’s hitting the ball among the best in the National League.

It came out during the Friday night broadcast on ROOT Sports — and was reported on the same day — that LeMahieu was being sat down for a sore left shoulder, as confirmed… well, sort of:

"LeMahieu, who won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award last year and played in his first All-Star Game this season, has seen his batting average dropped from .317 on Sept. 9 to .302. The underlying cause is left shoulder soreness, brought on when he landed wrong after he dove for a grounder.The .302 average was good enough for 10th in the National League going into Friday night’s game against the Giants, which LeMahieu didn’t start. LeMahieu can afford to go 0-for-3 without dropping below .300, and Weiss said he’s well aware. LeMahieu realizes the significance of the number, since it signifies a good year at first glance."

So… it’s not really about a shoulder injury, but more about hitting .300.

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LeMahieu, ever the baseball player he is, doesn’t pay much attention to the numbers and sounded like he’d rather be in the lineup:

"Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu says “.300 is just a number,” but manager Walt Weiss indicated it’s an important enough number to preserve.“Mostly, the fans like that number more than the players, and .300 would be something cool, but I want to finish strong,” LeMahieu said."

I understand it from his perspective, but I love that the Rockies sat him down Friday night. And I love that they will likely play him — at least, start him — on Saturday, see how it goes, and then make a determination about Sunday based on what his batting average is after Saturday night’s game.

Look, LeMahieu isn’t about to hit .300 in, like, 250 at-bats, as Drew Goodman alluded to during the Colorado Rockies’ ROOT Sports broadcast on Friday night. He’s played 149 games (if/when he plays Saturday night, that 150th game will become his career high), and he’s stepped to the plate 616 times this year.

He didn’t back door his way to .300 or cheat his way to a major Major League milestone; he earned it from quite literally the start of the year. It’d be one thing to sit him out for, like, the last eight games of the year in a bid to preserve his .300 average, but the Rockies aren’t doing that. He made it to the final weekend above the elusive milestone; he’s earned the right to coast through the victory lap.

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I know, for the vast, vast majority of people — even the vast majority of baseball fans — the distinction between, say, .299 and .301 isn’t much (it’s .002 points!). For a baseball player, though, and for those of us covering the game, that “3” at the beginning of a batting average over a full season is a monumental accomplishment.

While DJ would rather play and forget the numbers (hey, he’s an unassuming guy), a season spent hitting better than .300 is one of those things I’d imagine he looks at 20 or 30 years from now with pride. It’s the right decision by Walt Weiss to give him every single opportunity to achieve that, even if it means sitting out one or two of the final three games.

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