The Yankees had a plan to slot Greg Bird’s left-handed power bat between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Well, Birdy is gone and will be more than adequately replaced by Tyler Austin and Neil Walker. So let’s stop the hysteria and just put Didi Gregorius in the #3 spot, which many believe was rightfully his from the start.
On Tuesday morning, I read an article by ‘YGY’ site expert Mike Calendrillo, entitled: “Yankees: Didi Gregorius primed to make first All-Star Game.” I not only agree with Mike, but I think Sir Didi will go far and beyond that honor this year.
As Calendrillo writes in his post:
The thing that you must be impressed with is that the 28-year-old Curacao native has gotten better every year since becoming a regular starter with the Yankees back in 2015. In his first three big league seasons, Gregorius hit 25 long balls. Since 2016, he’s combined to slug 45. In 2017, Gregorius raised his career mark against lefties to .253/.305/.341. For a guy that was regularly benched by the D’backs when the opposition trotted out a lefty, Gregorius has improved remarkably.
I wholeheartedly agree that Didi will hit over 28 home runs this season, if sandwiched between Judge and Stanton, and/or Sanchez when the situation dictates.
Gregorius is going to see a lot more pitches to cream sitting at No. 3 in the lineup because the opposition is not going to want to pitch around him and have to either face the reigning NL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year or The Kraken, with men on base. Think about that for a minute.
Now, let’s look at Didi’s batting average. This often maligned stat has also improved from 2016 (.265) to last years .287 coupled with an impressive 87 RBI. Take note, my friends, Sir Didi was the Yankees’ best hitter vs. RHP after Aaron Judge, raking at .295, 22 HR’s and 70 RBIs, but he also hit LHP at a .263 clip.
Let me be frank. Greg Bird has never put up stats like Gregorius has, to-date, in his injury-shortened career — and personally, I believe Bird is vastly overrated.
I mean, the guy can’t get out of Spring Training without going under the knife.
On the defensive side of the ball, Austin has better numbers, anyway, so manager Aaron Boone should slot either him or Neil Walker in a platoon situation smack-dab at the No. 6 spot in the lineup, and they will fill in just fine for Bird.
I have always believed that with the acquisition of Stanton, the No. 3 spot in the lineup belonged to Gregorius, especially if we are talking about splitting up the big right-handed bats.
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Mike Calendrillo projected Gregorius a .289 BA with an OBP upwards of .329 while topping 28 home runs and driving in 90.
Should the Yankees put him in the No. 3 hole, I’m betting on more like a .320 average with 30+ homers and 100 RBI. In any case, Didi will and should make the trip to Washington D.C this All-Star break.