Amidst the sputtering first three weeks of the Yankees young season, Didi Gregorius remains a major bright spot. The Yankees shortstop, most likely Cashman’s best ever trade, is posting incredible numbers in the early going. Oh, and it may not be a fluke.
Right now Didi is slashing well above his career averages in a number of categories and is on pace to shatter personal records in others. He’s leading the league in slugging pct., and second in .OPS.
Across 162 games at his current rate, Didi would finish the season with the following absurd stat line:
Now while it’s not very likely that Didi maintains this pace, especially the power numbers, there are reasons to believe that this hot start isn’t a fluke.
First, consider Didi’s plate discipline. In 2017 across 136 games, Didi walked 25 times and struck out 70 times; standard stats considering Didi’s a contact hitter and doesn’t often end at bats without the ball in play.
But in 2018? The shortstop has already walked 14 times. Just nine shy of last season’s total with 120 fewer games played. As shown above, that puts him on pace for an insane 141 walks this season. Will he maintain that pace? Probably not, but it’s clear his discipline has reached new levels. He’s also only struck out four times this season, keeping him on pace for just 40 strikeouts through the year.
Here’s another thing: April typically isn’t even Didi’s best month. Yes, he missed most of last April injured, but career numbers suggest that June and July are Didi’s hottest months. So there’s at least an argument to make that he could improve as we move further into summer.
Need some other nice indicators? Consider that throughout his career, Didi holds a .183 batting average after 0-2 counts. So far this year? It’s .300. In high leverage situations (calculated where an at bat can dramatically shift win probability) he’s hitting .417 vs. his .260 career average. The guy seems fairly immune to tough situations (worth noting, however, is his sub .200 batting average with runners in scoring position so far this year).
While a lot of Yankees struggle early in the year, Didi (along with Judge and Gardner) continues to provide consistent positive outcomes. When this lineup starts all clicking together, it will be one tough offense indeed.