Rookie shortstop Didi Gregorius has gotten off to a quite start at the plate for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013.
Gregorius, who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds as part of a three-team trade this offseason, came to Arizona with a reputation for being a solid defender but was not expected to contribute much offensively.
The 23-year-old, who boasts a .333 batting average, .531 slugging percentage and a .922 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, has certainly silenced his critics.
“I am here trying to put the ball in play as much as I can and get an opportunity for our team and try to get on base every time I go out there,” Gregorius told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf on Friday. So for me, I don’t really care what people say about me. But I know who I am and what I am capable of and everything.
“I am only 23 years old so I am still learning and growing so if they say that about me well they said it, but I can’t say anything it’s their opinion. I know I work hard every time I go home so I work hard and I am trying to get better every time I go out there and play the game.”
D-backs’ general manager Kevin Towers was one person who never doubted Gregorius’ offensive ability, and even compared the young shortstop to one of the game’s best after watching him play in the Arizona Fall League.
“I was just taking it like ‘oh wow he really likes the way I play the game if he compares me to Derek Jeter’ so I know then for sure that I opened some eyes for the way I play the game,” Gregorius said. “So for me it was a great opportunity and a good experience and everything and I liked it, but I am here to play the game and be me.”
While Gregorius said he wasn’t surprised by his impressive start, he did say that he will continue to work with D-backs’ hitting coach Don Baylor on his approach at the plate.
“I came in with a hot start but I am trying to keep it up, but I got to listen to whatever they tell me and then try to put it all together and still go out there and try to play the game,” Gregorius said.