Updated Jan 24, 2014 - 12:26 pm
ESPN: Didi Gregorius one of 2014's breakout players
At 23, though, the expectation is he still has room to improve, and that may be why ESPN.com's David Schoenfield, in a piece titled, "Ten breakout players to watch for 2014", has Gregorius on the list.
When Kevin Towers acquired Gregorius from the Reds last offseason in a three-team deal, the trade was widely criticized since Arizona surrendered Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 draft. But Towers loved Gregorius' defense and Bauer had worn out his welcome in Arizona. Gregorius missed some time with injuries as a rookie but showed more potential with the bat than many expected, hitting .252/.332/.372, and showing the ability to turn on some pitches with seven home runs.
He's never going to be an offensive star, but he puts the ball in play, and if he can improve against left-handers (.200/267/.245), his numbers will look pretty good for a shortstop. If his defensive proves to be as strong as Towers sold us on them (the defensive runs saved metric had him at minus-1 run in 2013), he has a chance to be a very good player. His fantasy value may be limited by his lack of offensive skills, but I believe Gregorius can turn into a championship-caliber shortstop.
Gregorius' first season with the D-backs got off to a torrid start, but his batting average declined each month and he drove in just nine runs after the All-Star break.
But, the D-backs acquired him because of his defensive prowess, and nothing Gregorius did last season should make anyone doubt he'll be an effective middle infielder for years to come.
And if Schoenfield is right, the shortstop will begin to put it all together this coming season.
- Eric Chavez announces retirement after 17 years in majors
- Arizona Diamondbacks take series from Cincinnati: By the Numbers
- D-backs GM Kevin Towers: If it makes our team better, we'll listen
- Diamondbacks shutout by Leake and co.: By The Numbers
- 5 Arizona Diamondbacks named among top 100 prospects by MLB.com
- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB insider - Wednesday July 30ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian discusses the MLB trade deadline.
- Kevin Towers- D-backs GM - Wednesday July 30Kevin Towers talks about the trade deadline and the state of the youth in the organization.
- Kirk Gibson- Dbacks manager - Tuesday July 29What else can Major League Baseball do to enforce the blocking the plate rule?
- Keith Law, ESPN MLB Insider - Tuesday July 29ESPN MLB Insider Keith Law gauges the value in the D-backs’ potential trade pieces.
- Derrick Hall - D-backs president and CEO - Thursday July 24Derrick Hall talks about the approaching trade deadline.
- Bickley Blast - Wednesday July 23Kirk Gibson could be close to being a part of another miracle.
- Kevin Towers, D-backs GM - Wednesday July 23D-backs GM Kevin Towers talks about the upcoming trade deadline.