Note: This page is for Mariekson "Didi" Gregorius who made his major league debut in 2012. 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.
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.
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2016 & 2017)
- 2008 Reds Media Guide
- Chad Jennings: "Yankees' new shortstop stays in Derek Jeter's shadow", USA Today Sports, March 1, 2015.