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The five unheralded Yankees keeping the team in first place

Yankees second baseman D.J. LeMahieu singles against the

Yankees second baseman D.J. LeMahieu singles against the Boston Red Sox during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium on June 2, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Yankees have been without injured stars Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar and Luis Severino for most of the season, and at one point had 17 players on the injured list. Yet the Yankees are in first place in the American League East with a 38-20 record, thanks to a bunch of unheralded players who are making Aaron Boone’s mix-and-match lineups work. 

Here are the five unheralded players keeping the team in first:

D.J. LeMahieu: The two-time NL All-Star won a batting title with the Rockies in 2016. The Yankees signed him to a two-year, $24 million deal this winter despite not having a position for him to play. He was expected to fill in around the diamond and wasn't even in the Opening Day lineup. He's been one of the team's most consistent hitters with a .311 batting average, six home runs and 34 RBIs. Most remarkably, he's hitting .468 (22-for-47) with runners in scoring position.

Clint Frazier: Frazier missed nearly all of 2018 with recurring concussion issues and has missed time this season with an ankle injury, but when healthy he’s provided an important power bat in the absence of Judge, Stanton and Andujar. Frazier has 10 home runs in 41 games. His defense? Well, that's a different story.

Gio Urshela: The Yankees acquired Urshela from the Blue Jays last August. The 27-year-old third baseman has been a pleasant surprise since getting called up from Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre to replace Andujar in early April. He has provided solid defense at third and is hitting .329 with three home runs and 23 RBIs in 48 games.

Cameron Maybin: The veteran outfielder was acquired from the Indians for cash considerations when Frazier went on the injured list in late April. Since then, Maybin has been a capable fill-in in the outfield, appearing in 29 games and hitting .267 with five stolen bases.

Domingo German: German had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and pitched just 82 2/3 innings in 21 games last season but has emerged as the ace with Severino out. German leads the majors in wins (9-1) and has a 3.66 ERA in 11 starts this season.

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