The 2015 season started off very, very poorly for both Drew and Didi Gregorius. Expectations were through the roof for Gregorius, with many people clamoring for him to be "The Next Jeter." After all, the Yankees did give up an at-the-time solid pitcher in Shane Greene for him, and the fans wanted results in exchange for the seemingly high cost.
Meanwhile, after acquiring him at the trade deadline last season, the Yankees offered a one-year, $5 million contract in the offseason to Drew, banking on him being their second baseman for the season. Things did not go well in April and May, on both sides of the ball:
After these rough months, fans wanted Greene back. After all, in the month of April, Greene had a 4.70 ERA, but a FIP all the way down at 3.42. In his first three starts, Greene was 3-0 with an ERA of 0.39. This only sparked the fire. Following some outs by Gregorius, chants came up from the crowd saying, "We want Jeter!" There's no stat that shows it, but to me, it looked like the pressure was getting to Gregorius. As for Drew, hitting that much below the Mendoza Line as a nearly everyday second baseman is just sad. Drew had not hit above .200 in his time as Yankee, so the Refsnyder rumors really started to pick up.
Then, a switch flipped. June was an average month for both, but once July hit, they really picked it up. There was a stretch in July where Refsnyder was called up to play in place of Drew, but that didn't last very long. Both Drew and Gregorius just seemed more comfortable at the plate and in the field. Perhaps being in first place had something to do with this change in disposition, as the Yankees entered first place on July 1st.
July and August really made Yankee fans quickly forget about Shane Greene, who was sent down to Detroit's Triple-A affiliate back in the middle of June. Gregorius had several multi-hit games, and he was playing Gold Glove-level defense at shortstop. Drew had the occasional multi-homer game, and his power was really showing. Drew was and still is quite inconsistent, as he's still looking to hit above .200.
Drew at .196! Could it happen this series?!?! Last time he reached .200 was 6/19/14 (still with BOS) pic.twitter.com/jqrdcsn3bI— Marly Rivera ~ ESPN (@MarlyRiveraESPN) August 15, 2015
Now before you yell at me, I am not a Stephen Drew apologist. I'm far from it, actually. I love Rob Refsnyder, but if Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office think that Drew is the best option at second base, who am I to argue? After all, they're getting paid much more than me.
Minus the occasional bobble, Gregorius and Drew look very comfortable in the field together, turning double plays quite often (43 combined in July/August). As of now, Greene is back in Detroit, but has lately been pitching of the bullpen. Personally, I'd rather have a solid, young shortstop with good potential than a bullpen arm who isn't quite ready to be a full-time starter.
For Drew, he's inching closer and closer to .200, and he's still showing his power with a .395 slugging percentage entering Sunday. Among second basemen in the entire MLB, Drew's 15 home runs trails just Brian Dozier's 24. As the choice is right now, with no moves being made, it's either Drew or Brendan Ryan at second base, and if those are my only two options, I think I'll take Drew. So fans, do you think Drew and Gregorius are finally playing the way they were brought in to play, or are they just hot right now?
*stats from 8/15 not included