While 2017 was Didi Gregorius' best statistical season to date, it wasn't a year of substantial skill growth, if there was any real skill growth at all. He walked just 4.4 percent of the time (5.5 percent career walk rate), and his 23.1 percent hard-contact rate was below his 2016 mark -- not to mention it was a bottom-six mark among qualified hitters, according to FanGraphs. To his credit, Gregorius did trim his strikeout rate to a career-low 12.3 percent and he improved a lot on the road, batting .321/.354/.528 away from Yankee Stadium compared to .276/.298/.417 in 2016. However, the improved counting production seems more to do with the new baseball and 164 at-bats in the cleanup spot than anything else. The "expected" numbers from Statcast (..285 xwOBA, .249 xBA, .400 xSLG) suggest Gregorius overachieved, and that he will likely regress to somewhere closer to his 2016 levels this upcoming season.
Gregorius agreed to a one-year, $8.25 million deal with the Yankees on Friday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. This was the third offseason of arbitration eligibility for Gregorius, who will receive a raise of $3.15 million from last year. In 2017, the shortstop continued his upward climb, slashing .287/.318/.478 with 25 home runs and 87 RBI in 136 games, after missing the first month of the season due to a shoulder injury he sustained in the World Baseball Classic in March. He may see his numbers regress to resemble his 2016 campaign, but should still be a highly-valued option at the shortstop position.
Gregorius is out of the lineup Sunday against the Blue Jays. Ronald Torreyes is starting at shortstop while Gregorius gets the day to rest. Gregorius will carry a .287/.318/.478 line into Tuesday's AL wild-card matchup against Minnesota.
Gregorius is not in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Rays, Meredith Marakovits of YES Network reports. Despite going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI in Monday's win over the Royals, Gregorius will head to the bench following 12 straight starts. In his place, Ronald Torreyes is starting at shortstop and batting ninth.
Gregorius went 1-for-4 with a three-run home run in Wednesday's win over the Twins. With four home runs in his last six games, Gregorius is now up to 25 on the year, which is the most ever for a Yankees shortstop, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Of course, there has been a league-wide power spike, but Gregorius is also hitting at a high clip and he ranks second among all shortstops with 84 RBI. His four-category production has put him among the top five at the position in terms of earned fantasy value.
Gregorius went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and three runs Saturday against the Orioles. Gregorius launched his 23rd homer of the season to put the Yankees on the board in the third inning of a home victory. He's now homered in consecutive contests, and although his overall numbers this month haven't been strong, he could be heating up in time to help fantasy owners down the stretch.