I am going to start this post off by saying that the metamorphosis of Didi Gregorius from a defense-first shortstop to a true offensive threat in the Yankees’ lineup has been an absolute joy to watch. He really does belong in the cleanup spot right now especially as Giancarlo Stanton adjusts to being on a new team and in a new league.
On Tuesday, during the Yankees’ delayed-by-one-day home opener, Gregorius was the star of the show. Gregorius’ eight RBI, which came courtesy of two three-run home runs and a two-run single set a one-game franchise record for Yankee shortstops and set a record for the new stadium. It was also the largest offensive output by a Yankees player since Alex Rodriguez’s 10 RBI performance on April 26, 2005. His eight RBI were also a personal best for the 28-year-old who had been given the arduous task of following Derek Jeter and who has actually surpassed Jeter’s offensive output. Gregorius set a new home run record for Yankee shortstops last season with 25 in a year that started off with a stint on the DL. Who knows what could have been if he had played a full season.
Here are Didi’s highlights from Tuesday’s game in case you may have missed them.
When the Yankees first acquired Stanton, Gregorius jokingly tweeted his new manager and asked if he’d still be batting fourth. After Tuesday’s performance, the answer is surely yes. Obviously, his .444/.524/1.111 batting line won’t last but Didi has become a hitter you don’t want to face if you’re an opposing pitcher. He’s that guy right now. While Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez are floundering a bit in the early going, Didi is not. He has put the team on his shoulders. Perhaps this kind of leadership and performance was unexpected but it definitely wasn’t unwelcome.
What a wonderful player Gregorius has turned out to be. Yankee fans are lucky to have him.
Photo credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports