Didi Gregorius

From BR Bullpen

Note: This page is for shortstop Mariekson "Didi" Gregorius. For his father Johannes "Didi" Gregorius who played in the Dutch Hoofdklasse, click here


Mariekson Julius Gregorius

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop Didi Gregorius made his minor league debut in 2008 and reached the major leagues in 2012. He is the grandson of Juan Gregorius, son of Didi Gregorius and the brother of Johnny Gregorius.

Gregorius was signed by scout Jim Stoeckel in 2007 for the Cincinnati Reds. In 2008, he debuted with the GCL Reds and was 1 for 3 on June 24. He only hit .155/.241/.155 for the year and fielded .910. In 2009, he improved significantly, batting .314/.363/.387 for the Billings Mustangs and .254/.274/.310 in 22 games forthe Sarasota Reds. He fielded .927. He was named to the Pioneer League All-Star team at shortstop. He then made the Dutch national team preliminary 33-man roster for the 2009 Baseball World Cup, an event in which his father and brother played for the Netherlands Antilles.

Gregorius went 6 for 20 in his major league debut for the Reds in September of 2012. Considered one of the top prospects in the organization, but redundant because of the presence of the young Zack Cozart at shortstop, he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians on December 11th along with OF Drew Stubbs in return for OF Shin-Soo Choo and IF Jason Donald. The Indians then immediately dealt him to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with P Tony Sipp and 1B Lars Anderson in return for Ps Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. With incumbent SS Stephen Drew having left via free agency, Didi was considered as the favorite to win the position in 2013. However, the D-Backs received some bad news shortly after the trade, as Gregorius had to be shut down with elbow problems before spring training, and as a result started the season on the disabled list. He made his debut with the team on April 18th a memorable one however, homering off Philip Hughes of the New York Yankees at New Yankee Stadium in his first at-bat of the season. It was his first big league home run. He had been called up when 2B Aaron Hill went on the disabled list with a broken hand. Arizona went on to win the game, 6-2, in 12 innings. On April 27th however, he was hit on the helmet by a 93-mph fastball thrown by the Colorado Rockies' Josh Outman and suffered a concussion, putting him on the shelf. He was hitting .407 with 4 doubles and 2 homers in his first 7 games. he came back on May 7th, and while he cooled down as was to be expected, he continued to hit well, as his average was still at .330 heading into a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers on May 27th. He had a great game in the nitecap that day, hitting a triple off Yu Darvish in the 1st inning and driving in a run, and then hitting a game-tying two-run homer off the Japanese master in the 8th as the D-Backs completed a sweep of the Rangers. He played 103 games that season, hitting .252 with 7 homers, 47 runs scored and 28 RBIs.

But just when it looked like Gregorius was at the start of a long career as the Diamondbacks' shortstop, another prospect emerged in the organization to challenge his position in Chris Owings. The two shared the position in 2014, with Didi playing 80 games with a .226 average, 6 homers and 27 RBIs. With the D-Backs having a very poor season, it was clear that they could not keep two young shortstops with the potential to be starters with a number of holes to patch, and they decided to place their bets on Owings. However, another team was willing to give Gregorius a shot at starting, the New York Yankees, who tabbed him to replace retired legend Derek Jeter. They gave up P Shane Greene in return, but Arizona immediately flipped him to the Detroit Tigers for P Robbie Ray and IF Domingo Leyba. Early indications were that the Yankees would seek to play him in a platoon in 2015, with veteran Brendan Ryan getting to play against lefthanders. On March 28th, he gave the Yankees a scare when he landed awkwardly on his glove hand while diving for a ball; he had to leave the game a short time later, but x-rays proved negative as the injury was only a sprain. While he did not set the world afire with his bat, he played a steady shortstop over the first half of the season, getting the vast majority of the playing time while Ryan sat on the bench, and since the Yankees were playing well as a team, it allowed him to settle into the job without too much pressure from the Big Apple media. He had a career day on July 27th when he collected 3 hits, including a homer off Matt Harrison, and drove in a personal best 4 runs in a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers. But, typically, he did not dominate the headlines that day, as his thunder was stolen by Alex Rodriguez, who in the midst of a remarkable comeback season, homered on his 40th birthday. The following day, Didi had another 4 hits and 3 RBIs, all of the runs coming on a bases-loaded triple in an 11-run 2nd inning as the Yankees crushed the Rangers, 21-5. On August 28th, he improved his personal best set a month earlier with 6 RBIs in a 15-4 win over the Atlanta Braves; he had four hits including a three-run homer off Williams Perez in the 1st inning. He finished the year at .276 in 153 games, with 32 doubles and 22 homers, 68 runs and 70 RBIs. Tha made him one of the most solid offensive contributors on the team, quite an achievement for a player who had been acquired first and foremost for his defensive prowess.

Didi played for the Kingdom of the Netherlands national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, helping to take the team to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, however, he hurt his shoulder in an exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 18th, an injury that forced him to miss the Netherlands' semi-final loss to the Puerto Rican national team, as well as the first few weeks of the regular season. Ronald Torreyes filled in during his absence and played well, but Didi reclaimed his starting job immediately when he was activated on April 28th, going 2 for 5 with a double in a 14-11 win over the Baltimore Orioles. He ended up playing 136 games, hitting .287 with 25 homers and 87 RBIs, solidifying his position as one of the Yankees' offensive leaders, even if sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez may have had a higher profile. He followed his solid regular season with a strong postseason: he homered in the Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins, driving in 3 runs, then hit 2 more homers and drew 6 walks in the Yankees' upset of the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series. He added 7 hits in 28 at-bats in the ALCS against the Houston Astros.

In 2018, new manager Aaron Boone began using him regularly in the clean-up spot, quite a compliment given the presence of Judge, Sanchez and new acquisition Giancarlo Stanton in the line-up. He was the hero of the Yankees' win in their home opener on April 3rd when he went 4-for-4 with 2 homers and 8 RBIs in an 11-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. On April 27th, he hit a homer in the 10th inning off Blake Parker of the Los Angeles Angels, giving New York a 4-3 win on the road. He had homered in five of his last six games, and it was his 10th homer of the year, tying him with Mike Trout for the major league lead. He was also the top run producer in the majors, with 30 RBIs, and was hitting a scorching .368. This great first month earned him American League Player of the Month honors. Understandably, he cooled down after that tremendous month, but still remained one of the Yankees' main offensive weapons, while providing stability on the left side of the infield between rookies Miguel Andujar at third base and Gleyber Torres at second base. Hi season hit a snag when he went on the disabled list on August 21st with a contusion on his left heel following a collision at first base with Kendrys Morales of the Toronto Blue Jays. He was out until September 7th, but was back in the line-up when the Yankees officially clinched a wild card spot on September 22nd, but in that game, he was injured again, this time tearing cartilage in his right wrist when he scored the game-winning run. The Yankees had acquired veteran SS Adeiny Hechevarria while he was out the first time, and he was ready to step in were Gregorius to be out for an extended period. He did return in time for the postseason, finishing the year at .268 in 134 games, with 27 homers and 86 RBIs. He then went 1 for 3 with an RBI in the Wild Card Game, and 23 for 14 with a double and 2 RBIs in the Division Series, where the Yankees were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox. A couple of days later, it was announced that he would need to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on October 17th, after feeling pain while making a throw in Game 2 of the recently finished series. He was likely to miss the first half of the following season as a result.

Gregorius was on the injured list when the 2019 season began. He was cleared to resume baseball activities in May and played his first game in extended spring training on May 20th. He was hoping to return to the Yankees in mid to late June, following a minor league rehabilitation stint. He did make it back in accordance with this schedule, being reactivated on June 7th. He said that he had spent some of his free time during his rehabilitation by learning to play the piano. The Yankees had managed to do well during his absence - and that of a number of other A-list stars - and it was a first-place team he was rejoining. On July 23rd, he had a great game in a wild 14-12 win over the Minnesota Twins as he had 5 hits and drove in 7 runs in a game in which the Yankees overcame a six-run deficit. He played 82 games that season, hitting .238 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs. His OPS+ was only 87 however, well down from his previous two years. He did very well in the Division Series against the Twins, hitting .400 with a homer in the three-game sweep,, then went 5 for 23 with a double but no RBIs in the Yankees' loss to the Houston Astros in the ALCS. After the season, the Yankees declined to make him a qualifying offer, making him a free agent without compensation. It was a decision based on their current surplus of infielders, with Gleyber Torres, D.J. LeMahieu, Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar all scheduled to return. On December 10th, rumors emerged that he was about to sign a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for $14 million. He was slated to take over at shortstop, with Jean Segura and Scott Kingery likely manning second and third base. The signing was confirmed on December 13th.

When "summer training" started in July 2020, he announced that he would be playing the season while wearing a protective mask, one of a small numbers to do so. He explained that he had suffered from kidney disease in the past and thus was at a higher risk if he were to contract COVID-19.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2016-2018)


Further Reading[edit]

  • Chad Jennings: "Yankees' new shortstop stays in Derek Jeter's shadow", USA Today Sports, March 1, 2015. [1]
  • Mike Petriello: "Here's how Gregorius transformed into a star: Shortstop slugging .622 despite below-average 86.1-mph exit velocity", mlb.com, May 10, 2018. [2]
  • Joe Posnanski: "Gregorius finally developing into elite hitter: Bundy finding success with slider; Grichuk having poor luck", mlb.com, April 17, 2018. [3]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Didi, Phillies agree to 1-year deal (sources)", mlb.com, December 10, 2019. [4]

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