The regular season may be on hold right now, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t talk baseball. Phillies Nation will still be taking an in-depth look at your favorite Phillies players. Here’s a review of Didi Gregorius’ 2019 season as well as what to expect from the new Phillies shortstop in 2020.
2019 Stats: 82 GP, 344 PA, 16HR, 61 RBI, .238/.276/.441, 87 OPS+, 0.9 fWAR
It’s been a whirlwind for Didi Gregorius.
Coming off the best season of his career in 2018, Gregorius needed Tommy John surgery immediately after the Yankees were eliminated by the Red Sox in the American League Division Series.
Gregorius returned relatively quickly to the Yankee lineup in June but was unable to put up the type of production the Bronx Bombers were used to getting out of him prior to his injury. In his introductory press conference with the Phillies, the 30-year-old admitted to playing injured in 2019.
“I wasn’t 100 percent [healthy] yet because I hadn’t played many games while I was down [in Scranton], ” Gregorius said. “I wasn’t at my peak all the way, but I showed that I can still play the game.
“I wasn’t at my best but I set out there to compete and give all I had. The more I played, the stronger I got. I didn’t have many at-bats to prove what I can do.”
When healthy, Gregorius has proven he is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game as well as one of the best at hitting for power at his position. In the 2019 postseason, Gregorius didn’t exactly fare much better in the 2019 postseason. He went 5-for-23 in the ALCS against the Astros but may have provided one of the most memorable moments from the 2019 postseason, a grand slam against the Twins in Game 2 of the ALDS:
The Phillies came into 2019 with the expectation that they have the shortstop position locked down for years with the acquisition of former All-Star Jean Segura. After a disappointing defensive showing from Segura along with the departures of Maikel Franco and César Hernandez, the team had some decisions to make when it came to crafting their 2020 infield.
With the team pressed against the luxury tax and numerous holes remained unfilled, the Phillies agreed to a one-year, $14 million deal with Gregorius. It was a good fit for both sides: the Phillies did not have to commit long-term dollars and Gregorius had the opportunity to play under his old skipper Joe Girardi to reestablish his value heading into free agency next year. Gregorius had at least one multi-year on the table, but he is confident he can cash in on a bounce-back season.
The fact that Gregorius is on a “prove-it” deal makes the postponement of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 outbreak all the more tricky for him. Assuming the 2020 season takes place with a significantly shortened schedule, the pressure will be on to perform with limited at-bats.
It’s important to keep in mind that Gregorius’ 2019 season began in June and for now, the best-case scenario is for MLB to begin the season sometime in June. In 2020, Gregorius should be better equipped to be more successful in a shortened season, especially considering the 30-year-old is expected to be fully healthy:
While Segura fared slightly better than Gregorius at shortstop in terms of defensive runs saved in 2019, the Phillies are expecting Gregorius to return to form defensively. In 2017, his best season defensively, Gregorius posted eight defensive runs saved.
Overall, Phillies fans should look forward to watching an all-around fun starting shortstop on a daily basis once the season begins. Gregorius, who is probably the only Phillies player to have ever been knighted, has good range, a stellar arm and can consistently pull the ball over the right-field wall at Citizens Bank Park. If he can avoid a deep slump similar to the 0-for-22 skid in spring training and rebound defensively at short, Gregorius should prove to be an excellent pickup for the Phillies:
Check out our previous 2020 Season Previews
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