Time after time, Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has come up clutch in the Bronx and has really begun to prove to New York that he is indeed the future of the organization.
From 1996 to 2014, Yankee fans did not have to question who their shortstop was. Fast forward to today and Didi Gregorius is giving us a valid reason to not worry about the Shortstop position for another five years, maybe more.
Let’s take a look at Didi’s numbers in comparison to Derek Jeter‘s numbers at age 26 and 27.
Didi: 2016 (age 26) and 2017 (age 27) Seasons: 141 Runs, 308 Hits, 59 Doubles, 45 HRs, 157 RBIs, .282 BA.
Jeter: 2000 (age 26) and 2001 (age 27) Seasons: 229 Runs, 392 Hits, 66 Doubles, 36 HRs, 147 RBIs, .325 BA.
While Didi holds his own, the above stats may remind you of just how good Derek Jeter was. More importantly, many argue that Derek Jeter’s best season did not come at age 26 or 27, but instead at age 32 and 35.
Yes, this means that we may not be seeing the best of Didi yet. Let’s not forget, Cal Ripken Jr won an MVP at age 30, Barry Larkin won an MVP at age 31, and Derek Jeter finished second (his highest ever) in MVP voting at age 32.
On the defensive side of the ball, sticking to their age 26 and 27 seasons, Didi had a fielding percentage of .978 with 24 errors, while Jeter had a fielding percentage of .968 with 39 errors. With this said, his glove and range could keep him at the shortstop position for quite some time.
Is Didi Gregorius going to end up being better than Derek Jeter? Absolutely not.
Is Didi’s best baseball yet to come? Based on the Jeter and other Shortstop trajectories, Absolutely.
Don’t believe me? See the Wildcard Game vs the Twins where he brought life back into Yankee Stadium with a three-run HR after the Yankees fell behind 3-0 in the first inning.
See Game Five of the ALDS where he took the AL Cy Young award winner (Corey Kluber) deep not once, but twice to help clinch the Yankees first playoff series win since 2009 when Derek Jeter was still the Shortstop.
And if you missed either of those, take a look at Tuesday’s home opener. A game in which Didi went 4-for-4 with two home runs and eight RBIs, while batting in between two of his teammates (Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez) who combined to go 0 for 10 with 6 strikeouts.
Not only do I think Didi’s best baseball is yet to come, but I also think he may have the clutch gene that Derek had.