Despite the disappointment of the 2016 season and not making the playoffs, I think we all got to see some amazing things from our rookies and the future looks bright. There is a lot of discussion about Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin. One thing that doesn’t get enough press is the middle infield tandem of Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro. They have worked well together this season, and they’ve been productive with their bats.
Their hitting statistics are strikingly similar. Starlin Castro had a typical year for him with a slash line of .272/.302/.436 and an OPS of .739, which was only a few points off of his career numbers. Gregorius had a slash line of .275/.304/.448 with an OPS of .752. That was a significant jump off his career totals. Maybe Castro had a positive effect on him. Maybe Didi is coming into his own as a shortstop. Whatever it is, it’s good to see him raising the level of his game.
When you think second base and shortstop, you typically think defense. They are both key defensive positions. They do not disappoint in this category either. Both of them are within single points of the league average fielding percentage, Didi with a .947 (league average is .976) and Castro with a .980 (league average is .983). Throughout the season, their timing seemed to get better with backing each other up and executing on double plays. Next year very well could be the year we have the next 2B/SS combo in a long line of Yankee greats that include Derek Jeter/Robinson Cano and Willie Randolph/Bucky Dent.
Every championship team has certain key ingredients that make it great. Infield defense is always one of them, and it’s one that usually goes unnoticed. With the pair of Gregorius and Castro, this looks like a very good base to build an infield around.