Monumental in April, a fallen hero in May and now New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius appears to have returned to his former self.
Since dropping from .333 on May 3 to a dismantling .230 on May 27, Yankees shortstop, Didi Gregorius has hit .326 (15-for-46) since. Sir Didi is finding a way to put the barrel on the ball and getting out of one of the worst batting slumps of his career. He faltered to a .083 batting average in 76 at-bats during that slump. At the moment, he is currently batting .248 and rising.
Didi is seeing the pitches well and not chasing after too many unnecessary ones. According to Fangraphs.com, he is only swinging at 36.2% of pitches outside of the zone, the lowest in his tenure with the Yanks. Additionally, he is making contact with his swings at pitches inside the strike zone at an above average rate of 90.2%.
The contact is coming along, but the power has not nearly been where it was in his AL Player of the Month Award for April. During the first full month of the season, he slashed .327/.421/.735, with 10 homers and drove in 30 RBIs.
The imbalance of power is not necessarily a bad thing; this lineup up and down is filled with power.
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During the June 12 contest with Washington, there was a flash of that April “pop” in his bat. This happened when he belted out two bombs to right-center and then the second level of right field seats.
Gregorius is on pace for 27 homers by seasons end, according to MLB.com. That is certainly possible, especially if he can continue to crush multiple homers on a nightly basis.
As David Waldstein reported in his article with the New York Times, Sir Didi understood where he was during his turbulent May.
"“No, I was just getting to know myself through that slump,” he said. “I always battle.”"
Bats Around Him
The latest youth movement led by Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres have shined bright in the Bronx. Their bats have come alive, racking up hits and prodigiously driving balls out of the park.
Andujar is taking everything that opposing pitchers throw at him and crushing it for extra base hits. He is currently at 21 doubles on the season, on pace for a staggering 38. Andujar is special.
Torres has also been exceptional from the batter’s box since his call-up. The No. 1 rated Yankees prospect has batted .297 in 41 games with the major league club. He has sent one out over the outfielder’s heads 11 times so far.
His showing of both power hitting and the ability to put the ball in play on all areas of the field has been a vital part of the Yankees early season success.
This goes without saying, the two-headed snake of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are both approaching 40+ home run seasons. According to MLB.com, Judge is on pace for 41 bombs and Stanton is projected to edge him out at 46.
With the bat coming back to life for Gregorius, the Yanks have become even deadlier. One through nine, up and down the lineup, the Yanks have the most elite lineup in all of Major League Baseball.
Sir Didi was key to the Yankees successful 2017 campaign and will need to be again in this season’s run. Pitching is at a point of dominance in the American League, and there is an excess of hard-hitting bats that reach all areas of the park.
That is the X-factor between this season and last. Gregorius is right in the middle of it all and with his resurgence from a diminishing May into an uplifting June, can help the Yankees pull ahead in the AL East for good.