At just 26 years old, Didi Gregorius continued to progress on offense in 2016 and put up career-best marks nearly across the board. The shortstop entered the year with 22 career home runs, but he turned in 20 long balls to go along with a career-high 70 RBI. The lefty also seemingly figured out how to hit southpaws after being a liability against them in his first few years, as he hit .320 with an .826 OPS against left-handed pitching. He also cut down on his strikeouts (career-low 13.7 percent strikeout rate) while adding a small speed element to his game with seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Shortstop is not the wasteland it once was, and if Gregorius maintains the gains he displayed last season, or even builds on them, he will make for an affordable high-end middle-infield option or low-end option at shortstop in standard leagues.
Gregorius has a shoulder strain and will not be able to participate in baseball activities for two weeks, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Gregorius suffered the injury playing in the WBC over the weekend, and unfortunately, it means he'll have to miss Opening Day. Manager Joe Girardi also said that it's even possible the shortstop could miss all of April with the injury. The 27-year-old will likely have a firmer timetable once he is able to resume baseball activities, while Tyler Wade could fill in for Gregorius during his absence.
Gregorius has left Team Netherlands with a right shoulder injury, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Gregorius underwent preliminary testing Sunday, and now he's catching a flight back to Tampa to have more testing done by the Yankees on Tuesday. Needless to say, the 27-year-old is out for the WBC semifinal game vs. Puerto Rico on Monday night. More should be known about his status following Tuesday's tests.
Gregorius will leave the Yankees' spring training facility Tuesday in order to join Team Netherlands in advance of the World Baseball Classic, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. Gregorius' role with the team as the starting shortstop is secure, so provided the 27-year-old is able to stay healthy, his departure from the team in the spring shouldn't have much of an impact. He broke out last season with career bests in home runs (20), RBI (70), and batting average (.276), and while that still isn't in the upper echelon of the young shortstop talent that's emerged in recent years, Gregorius should provide a solid option up the middle for fantasy owners.
Gregorius agreed to a one-year, $5.1 million contract with the Yankees on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. His defense slipped in his age-25 season, but Gregorius made up for it to an extent with a significant power boost. Gregorius more than doubled his previous career high of nine home runs (established in 2015) while posting the best contact rate of his career. He'll make for a decent consolation prize for those who miss out on one of the young superstars at the shortstop position.
Gregorius is not in Saturday's lineup against the Orioles. He left Friday's game after two at-bats, but so did several other Yankees regulars, so it seems that they are simply trying to spread out the playing time over the final games of the season. Ronald Torreyes will start at shortstop and hit ninth Saturday.