- Full name David John LeMahieu
- Born 07/13/1988 in Visalia, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Louisiana State
- Debut 05/30/2011
Drafted in the 2nd round (79th overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2009 (signed for $508,000).
View Draft ReportLeMahieu looked like a first-round pick last summer when he starred in the Cape Cod League. Scouts saw enough athleticism in his lanky 6-foot-4, 193-pound frame to think he could play shortstop, and they liked his power potential. But he hasn't played up to that level this spring. Though LeMahieu hit .340 entering the College World Series and sparked Louisiana State's offense from the leadoff spot, scouts expected him to deliver more than four home runs. He employs an inside-out, opposite-field approach, so he should have more power if he turns on more pitches. Scouts also have noted that his swing seems slower and longer this spring. They also think LeMahieu now has no chance at playing shortstop, as he has looked more methodical and less explosive. The Tigers concurred, moving him to second base at midseason after they had trouble turning double plays. His arm has regressed, too, and at shortstop he would need a full windup to make longer throws. A fringe-average runner, LeMahieu may not have the quick feet for second base, either, and he'd have to produce a lot more power if he shifted to third base or the outfield. Further complicating matters is the extra leverage he possesses as a draft-eligible sophomore. Enough scouting directors saw LeMahieu play well on the Cape that he still should get picked in the second or third round, and he may be signable if he goes that high.
Organization Prospect Rankings
LeMahieu led 2009 College World Series champion Louisiana State with a .350 average and signed for an above-slot $508,000 as a Cubs second-round pick that summer. He has continued to hit, batting .317 in three minor league seasons, but he has yet to show that he can do enough else to become a big league regular. Chicago's new regime didn't wait to find out, trading him and Tyler Colvin to the Rockies in December for Ian Stewart and 2007 first-rounder Casey Weathers. Though he has impressive size and strength, LeMahieu is content to stay inside pitches and serve them to the opposite field. He rarely turns on balls and drives them for power, with his five homers in 2011 representing a career high. His proponents believe he'll develop into a 40-double/15-homer threat once he does a better job of recognizing which pitches he can drive, but most scouts see him as a singles hitter who doesn't provide enough beyond his batting average. He makes contact so easily that he doesn't draw many walks. LeMahieu's lack of pop wouldn't matter as much if he could stick in the middle infield, where he has spent much of his pro career, but his fringy speed and quickness don't fit at second base or shortstop. His best position is third base, where his soft hands and solid arm make him an average defender, but he'll have to show more power to play every day at the hot corner. LeMahieu spent all of June and most of September with the Cubs, but former manager Mike Quade never gave him much playing time to show what he could do. Though LeMahieu will compete for a job in spring training, Nolan Arenado is clearly Colorado's future at third base.
LeMahieu is the best pure hitter in the system, but his future will be determined by what else he can bring to the table. He led Louisiana State's 2009 College World Series championship team with a .350 average before signing for an above-slot $508,000 as a second-round pick. LeMahieu makes consistent sweet-spot contact, using an inside-out swing to lace balls to the opposite field. He makes good adjustments, as evidenced by him rallying from hitting .227 through mid-May to bat .344 in the second half of 2010. The problem is that his approach leads to few walks and little power. He can turn on pitches occasionally--as he showed when he hit a 390-foot blast off a 94-mph fastball from Phillies prospect Phillippe Aumont in September--but that represented half of his home run output for the year. LeMahieu has size and strength, and the Cubs believe he can hit 15 homers a season once he learns to recognize pitches he can drive. Skeptics aren't as optimistic and think more advanced pitchers will pound him relentlessly with inside fastballs. LeMahieu has played second base, third base and shortstop but isn't ideal at any of the three. His speed and quickness are fringy, which makes playing shortstop in the majors impossible and works against him as a second basemen. He has soft hands and a strong arm, so he could handle third, but he doesn't fit the power profile there. LeMahieu will see time at multiple positions again when he plays in Double-A this year, and he's probably facing a ceiling as a utilityman if he can't find more power.
LeMahieu starred in the Cape Cod League in 2008, but his play slipped last spring. He played his way off shortstop and hit just five homers for Louisiana State, though he led the Tigers in batting (.350) as they won the College World Series. The Cubs took him in the second round and signed him for a $508,000 bonus. LeMahieu may be the purest hitter in the system, staying inside the ball and drilling line drives to the opposite field. He could develop average power as he fills out and turns on more pitches, which he started to do after Peoria hitting coach Barbaro Garbey helped him reduce the front arm bar in his swing. As a defender, he has a solid arm and good hands but doesn't have the range to stay at shortstop. Some scouts wonder if he'll have enough quickness for second base or provide enough offense to play regularly elsewhere. He's a fringe-average runner. LeMahieu has some similarities to Ryan Flaherty, and the two could shift around the infield together in high Class A in 2010. The Cubs believe in LeMahieu's bat, and he could move quickly if he finds a position.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Chicago Cubs in 2012
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Chicago Cubs in 2011