Didi Gregorius with the D-backs: By the Numbers
Didi Gregorius is off to the north, after the Arizona Diamondbacks traded the shortstop on Friday to the New York Yankees for pitcher Robbie Ray.
The trade may disappoint some, only getting two seasons from Gregorius after the Diamondbacks paid a hefty price, largely in the form of up-and-coming pitcher Trevor Bauer, for the defensive-minded infielder in Dec. 2012.
The expectations were evident from early on in Gregorius’ time with Arizona, as a great defender that needed to work on hitting the ball, and for the most part, this is what Gregorius did for the Diamondbacks.
With Gregorius ready to suit up in pinstripes, here’s a look at some of the numbers from his two years with the Diamondbacks:
Sitting pretty with a minor league system that already boasted shortstop prospect Zack Cozart, the Cincinnati Reds were willing to depart with Gregorius, the organization’s eighth-ranked prospect in 2010, according to Baseball America. This ranking also served as evidence for why Arizona would offer up such a hefty price for a promising defensive-gem in their middle infield.
With expectations as a vacuum in the middle of the infield, Gregorius may not have been all-star worthy, but without a doubt improved the defense when he was in the lineup. Gregorius had a .983 fielding percentage at shortstop in 2014, a drastic improvement over the team’s percentage of .971 at the position from throughout the season.
Playing at such a high-profile defensive position, shortstops are expected to simply get outs. A lot of them. Gregorius did not disappoint in this regard, getting 4.45 putouts and assists per nine innings that he played in 2014, putting him well above the league average of 4.3 and leaving him in the same company as All-Star Alexei Ramirez and above Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons.
For all the Dutch shortstop did in the field, he just couldn’t consistently get it together at the plate. The 24-year-old finished last season with a .290 on-base-percentage, a dropoff from his already below-average .332 that he posted in 2013.
Kevin Towers left no mystery when acquiring Gregorius, this was supposed to be the everyday shortstop in the desert, but this goal was never fully realized in the player’s two years in Arizona. Gregorius averaged 91.5 games played over the two seasons, missing significant time due to injuries in 2013 and a lost battle for the starting spot to Chris Owings in 2014.
The difference between hitting in the minor leagues versus the majors is significant, but often times a good eye and ability to get hits translates in some way from one league to the next. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Gregorius, who had impressive batting averages of .387 and .310 with the Reno Aces in 2013 and 2014, only to drop to .252 and .226 when called up later in both seasons.
FRAA is a Baseball Prospectus statistic measuring the plays made versus the expected average by someone at a position, figuring in other variables to give a realistic depiction of the typical peformance from a player. Despite the complexity of the statistic, it serves great notice of Gregorius’ growth on defense, racking up a -6.9 FRAA in 2013, the expectation for a poor defender, versus a 3.4 in 2014, the average for a good defender.