After a rough 2019 which saw Didi Gregorius have arguably his worst season since being traded to the New York Yankees back in 2015, the Dutch-born shortstop rebounded nicely in 2020.
Gregorius made an already dangerous lineup all the more fearsome by reaching essentially his previous career highs in batting average, and OPS. He provided another powerful lefty bat to compliment Bryce Harper and contrast the righties in J.T Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins. There were concerns heading into 2020 if Gregorius was in decline, entering his age 30 season, but at least in a shortened season, he put those concerns to rest. In doing so, he earned himself a two-year contract extension.
Even with a shortened season, he decreased his strike out percentage from 2019, and increased his walk percentage, boding well for hopefully a strong 2021 season.
What could go right?
Ideally, Gregorius essentially duplicates the numbers he posted last season over a full 162. Over a 162 average, he was on track for what his career best seasons were in New York which saw him hit around 25 homers, and knock in 80 runs with an OPS hovering around .800. If he does that, and the Phillies find any kind of offense in center field or second base, this lineup has a chance to put up insane numbers.
Now while he’s never been a gold glove caliber shortstop, he’s never really been terrible at the position either. He posted a -2 DRS last season and if we see that again this year, I think that’s perfectly acceptable. He’s here primarily for his bat, not his glove.
What could go wrong?
The decline starts. That’s about it.
He’s now on the wrong side of 30, so it’s always going to have to be something that the Phillies brass has to keep in mind. Good news for them is, even if he does start to decline, Bryson Stott hopefully isn’t too far away from seeing the major leagues. The Phillies didn’t break the bank to bring him back, and didn’t give him a ton of term. Didi helps this team win now, which is what they need to do with the talent on this roster.
If the decline does start now, I’m not sure we see 2019 Didi which was simply bad, but somewhere just a tad north of that. Should that happen, I still believe Didi will have value to trade if Stott makes a huge jump this season in the minors, especially to an American League team that can use him as a DH.