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Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Does Didi Gregorius’ “Breakout” Make Him A Must Use Option For ’17?

Sunday, November 6, 2016 4:38
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(Before It's News)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There wasn’t necessarily a lot of thought given when the Yankees acquired Didi Gregorius from the Diamondbacks a year ago.  However, by season’s end there was excitement as his first year in New York led to an offensive explosion:

562 At Bats
.276 Batting Average (155 Hits)
20 Home Runs
70 RBI
68 Runs
7 Stolen Bases
.304 On Base Percentage
.447 Slugging Percentage
.290 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Maybe “explosion” was the wrong word, as the only true carrying number was his power.  He didn’t steal bases…  He didn’t produce an elite average…  Heck, even the power isn’t such a standout number (just a significantly better one than he had shown before).

He’s never shown much speed, with 16 SB in ’10 being his career high in the minors.  As far as his average goes, while he makes consistent contact (9.4% SwStr% last season) he has always shown a propensity to chase pitches outside the strike zone and it’s gotten progressively worse:

  • 2013 – 31.5%
  • 2014 – 32.6%
  • 2015 – 36.4%
  • 2016 – 40.1%

Before you claim it was the transition to the AL, after the All-Star Break his O-Swing% ballooned to 45.0%.  The league change wasn’t the issue, instead maybe he was swinging for the fences as his line drive rate fell (21.5% to 17.4%) and his fly ball rate rose significantly (33.5% to 48.4%).  As a non-elite power hitter, those numbers are particularly scary.  If he continues to move forward with this type of approach his average is going to plummet, and it was never too strong to begin with (he’s a career .260 hitter).

While the power could be “real”, as it wasn’t that he benefited from Yankee Stadium (9 of his home runs came on the road), it doesn’t mean that it turns him into a player to buy.  Considering the limited speed (he won’t reach 10 SB) and the average concern (if he continues down this path, .250ish or worse is very real), even if he hits 20 HR is anyone going to care (outside of deeper formats)?  Keep in mind, he was one of 12 shortstops to hit at least 20 HR a year ago (16 hit at least 15 HR).

Shortstop has become a very deep position and Gregorius simply doesn’t bring the upside across the board at this point.

Source – Fangraphs 

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