Yankees: Just How Good Is Didi Gregorius?

Didi Gregorius has had an up and down year, including some time spent on the DL. However, he’s undoubtedly been one of the best shortstops in the league.

Yankees Shortstop Home Run Leader

Last season, Didi Gregorius hit 25 home runs in 570 PA, breaking Derek Jeter’s Yankee record for home runs in a season by a shortstop. This year, Didi has broken his own record in just 540 PA, with about two weeks left to the season. One wonders if he could have gotten to 30 homers had he not been injured, or had the worst month ever.

How Does Didi Rank versus other Shortstops?

You may not remember, but after Didi’s amazing April start to this season, in which he belted 10 home runs, Brian Kenny from MLB Network took some heat for not ranking Sir Didi higher in his Top 10 shortstops. Well, after Didi’s horrific May, Kenny seemed to get the last word and the controversy died down.

Currently, Didi is slashing .270/.336/.502 with a career-high 26 home runs and career-high 10 stolen bases in just 127 games — good enough for a 4.4 fWAR and 123wRC+. Sir Didi’s 4.4 fWAR is good enough to rank him 7th overall among shortstops.

  1. Francisco Lindor – 146 G, 685 PA, 7.3 fWAR
  2. Manny Machado – 149 G, 654 PA, 5.7 fWAR
  3. Andrelton Simmons – 136 G, 563 PA, 5.1 fWAR
  4. Javier Baez – 146 G, 586 PA, 5.0 fWAR
  5. Xander Bogaerts – 127 G, 543 PA, 4.7 fWAR
  6. Trevor Story – 148 G, 622 PA, 4.6 fWAR
  7. Didi Gregorius – 127 G, 540 PA, 4.4 fWAR
  8. Trea Turner – 150 G, 682 PA, 4.1 fWAR
  9. Marcus Semien – 147 G, 656 PA, 3.5 fWAR
  10. Jurickson Profar – 134 G, 547 PA, 3.4 fWAR

While Didi is solidly in the top 10, it’s clear that had he been healthy all year, he might have been in the top five. Of the shortstops on this list, Didi has the fewest plate appearances. In fact, he has 140 fewer plate appearances than leader Francisco Lindor. Extrapolate Gregorius’s power number out for that many plate appearances and Didi would have 33 home runs, just two behind Lindor. Unfortunately, Didi did get hurt and did miss time on the DL, so those numbers are just “what if’s”.

Still, Didi has had an impressive year:

Home Runs: 26 (fifth among shortstops)
Runs: 83 (6th)
RBI: 84 (6th)
SB: 10 (12th)
BB: 47 (8th)
wRC+: 123 (5th)
DEF: 9.4 (8th)

Replacing the Captain?

Lest we forget, Sir Didi wasn’t always Sir Didi. In 2015 he was the replacement for Yankee legend Derek Jeter. Needless to say, he had big shoes to fill. While few ever thought anyone could replace The Captain, Didi has forged his own path and vastly outperformed expectations. Is he anywhere near as good as Jeter was though? The short answer is no way.

Didi is having a career year offensively and yet his 4.4 fWAR would rank as Derek Jeter’s seventh-best season. Further, offensively, Jeter was leaps and bounds ahead of Didi. Didi’s 123 wRC+ would rank as Jeter’s 10th best season. It’s safe to say that Didi cannot truly replace Jeter’s production, but if Didi has a full, healthy season, he might be able to put up a Jeter-like season in the future. He might even set the Yankees single-season shortstop home run record (again).

One thing is certain though — no one can top Didi’s twitter emoji game.


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