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.
- MLB debutant delivers for Padres in win over D-backs
- Cahill, D-backs' offense struggle in loss to Padres: By The Numbers
- Arizona Diamondbacks reinstate Daniel Hudson, Cody Ross from the disabled list
- Dose of Venom: Anderson dominates, Diamondbacks finish home stand with win over Rockies
- Anderson, Hill, big 7th inning lift Diamondbacks over Rockies: By The Numbers
- Augie Ojeda, former Arizona Diamondback - Friday August 29Doug and Wolf chat with former Diamondback Augie Ojeda.
- Travis Lee, former D-backs first baseman - Thursday August 28Travis Lee shares some stories and memories from playing with the D-backs.
- Derrick Hall, D-backs President and CEO - Thursday August 28Derrick Hall discusses the home plate rule in the new instant replay system.
- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB insider - Wednesday August 27ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian believes Matt Williams is good for the Nationals.
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs manager - Tuesday August 26D-backs manager Kirk Gibson discusses possible changes to a six-man rotation.
- Reggie Sanders - former Diamondbacks outfielder - Tuesday August 26Reggie Sanders discusses the Diamondbacks' alumni game coming up this Saturday.
- Derrick Hall, D-backs President & CEO - Thursday August 21Derrick Hall gives his thoughts on the new MLB commissioner.