Replacing a long time Yankees position player is never an easy task for anyone. Most of the guys who have been asked to fill some big shoes in recent years have stumbled along the way. And replacing a Yankees lifer and future Hall of Famer like Derek Jeter is damn near impossible, but Didi Gregorius is slowly becoming more and more comfortable as the Yankees' starting shortstop, and that is a very good thing. (Note: I am only looking at his offensive numbers in this post. Someone much smarter can feel free to delve into his defense if they dare.)
This is how Gregorius' spray chart looks overall so far this season:
As you can see, it's not an overwhelming spray chart, but you will see in this post that the numbers have gone up from month to month.
- He's batting .176/.243/.221/.464 against lefties, which was expected and .259/.309/.361/.670 against righties.
- He's batting .258/.326/.355/.680 in Yankee wins and .212 /.248/.288/.536 in losses. (He's hit four home runs overall - two in wins and two in losses.)
This is how he performs by his place in the lineup:
It's pretty clear he likes batting seventh.
I also looked at game conditions and how he performed during the day, night, outside, in a dome, etc.
He likes the daytime and he likes when you can open and close the roof of your stadium.
Notice it's up and/or away.
He has trouble with pitches low in the zone.
He also struggles more against power pitchers .209/.261/.256/.517 than he does against finesse pitchers .235/.279/.373/.652, but does better against pitchers with average stuff .250/.314/.313/.627. And he does better against fly ball pitchers .254/.315/.362/.676 than he does against ground ball pitchers .162/.220/.189/.409, though to be fair, he has had a lot fewer at bats against ground ball pitchers so far this season.
His Monthly Numbers
Gregorius played in all 19 games in April and batted .206/.261/.238/.499 overall. He batted .189/.244/.216/.460 at home and .231/.286/.269/.555 on the road.
In May, Gregorius' numbers improved. He batted .232/.300/.341/.641. He was getting on base more and hitting the ball harder. At home he batted, .226/.294/.452/.746 and on the road he batted .235/.304/.275/.578. As you can see, he was able to hit a couple of home runs at home which helped is slugging and OPS:
He had more hits on the road in May but only a couple of them were for extra bases:
Gregorius improved once again in June. He batted .258/.293 /.366/.659 overall. And as you will see below, his power numbers went up a tick. (I realize his numbers aren't otherworldly or overpowering, but as I suggest in the title, it's a slow and steady progression.)
In 10 games so far in July, Gregorius has batted .257/.333/.343/.676 with better numbers actually coming on the road (.286/.333/.357/.690).
This is the kind of development you want to see from a young player. Things may have started out rough for him in the beginning of the season, but Gregorius has improved every month and that's a very good thing. So while he won't ever reach the level of play of Jeter, (and frankly, how many guys will during their careers?) Gregorius will definitely be a serviceable major league player and right now, that is just fine.
[Numbers, charts and spray charts courtesy of Baseball Reference and ESPN Stats and Info]