At the end of the 2014 season, the New York Yankees had a void at shortstop for the first time after 20 glorious seasons of the Captain, Derek Jeter. With one three team trade, the Yankees got Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks. At 6'2 205 lbs, Sir Didi has a physique similar to #2 (Jeter was 6'3, 195 lbs). Former D'Backs GM Kevin Towers even went as far to say that Didi reminded him of Jeter. Well, as we have seen throughout Didi's career, his physique is the only thing similar to #2.
It has been a tale of two halves for Didi Gregorius in 2015. The two stretches are broken down into three dates: April 6 to May 20, May 22nd and beyond.
April 6 - May 20: .214/ .276/ .250, 4 2B, 0 HR, .526 OPS, 46 wRC+, 6.5 BB%, 18.5 K% in 124 PA
During this stretch, Didi received plenty of flak from the New York media and fans. Everyone knew that his bat was a work in progress, but they did not expect him to hit like Brendan Ryan. His defense and baserunning were average at best, with plenty of mental mistakes. There were even calls for him to be sent to Triple-A. He showed in doses that his glove was easily above average, but his ghastly batting line dwarfed #2 very pedestrian final year (.617 OPS). Then, the Texas Rangers came to town.
May 22 to the present
It was actually a series to forget for the Yanks, as they were swept by the surging Rangers. Yet, for Didi, it was somewhat of a kick start. He hit his first HR as a Bronx Bomber off of a 82 mph hanger by Colby Lewis in the first game, and added another the next game off of Nick Martinez's 90 mph fastball. Since then, the numbers have turned from ghastly to solid. Since that first HR, Didi's line is as below
.289/ .333/ .406, .739 OPS, 104 wRC+, 7 HR, 13 2B, 3B, 4.5 BB%, 13.1 K%, 335 PA
In that span, he went from being a total liability at the plate to being 4% better than league average in terms of wRC+. He seemed more confident as the year progressed, and it elevated his all around game. He has made some spectacular plays on the field, and his mental miscues have decreased. He has already contributed more than 2014 Jeter, which was what the Yankees had been hoping for out of their new shortstop. He's been even hotter since the All Star break (.327 BA, .800 OPS). This begs the question, which Didi is the real one?
His glove will no question be an asset, as will his cannon of an arm. So far in 2015, he's been worth 1.1 rWAR with his glove. More experience and reps would place his glove near the 1.5 rWAR. Didi runs well, but doesn't read pitchers well enough to steal bases. Maybe as he gets better reads on hurlers, he could potentially flirt with double digit steals in a full season. His 46% XBT% (Extra Bases Taken) is an asset to a team full of veteran plodders.
Didi Gregorius is never going to be Derek Jeter with the bat, so don't read too much into his .327 batting average since the festivities in Cincinnati. Moving forward, he could settle in as a .265-.275 hitter with potential for double digit HR in a full season, as well as 25-30 doubles. A .270/ .320/ .390 batting line would suffice over the course of a full season, and couple that with a good glove, you get a player worth 3 WAR over a season.