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Friday, March 21, 2014

Bellone: The curious hitting of Didi Gregorius

According to Kevin Towers, Didi is now a prepubescent Derek Jeter.

Last season, against left-handed pitching, Didi hit .200/.267/.245. Quite simply, terrible. Especially compared to his very respectable .275/.359/.429 against righties. It is when you look at his splits against starters versus relievers, though, when things get interesting. Against left-handed starters, the young shortstop hit .261/.354/.333. So, wait. He hit sixty-one points higher against left-handed starters than lefties as a whole? Yes, he did. In fact, he was actually slightly better against southpaw starters than right-handed ones. He hit for more power against right-handers - all seven of his home runs - but otherwise he only hit .250/.326/.382. If managers look at Gregorius and think about platooning him against lefties, perhaps they should think again.

So the question becomes, how could a player hit seventy-five points worse against lefties last year, while hitting sixty-one points higher against such pitchers as starters? The only explanation: he must have had absolutely no success against left-handed relievers.

Baseball-Reference categorizes pitchers into three different types: power, pitchers who are in the top third of the league in strikeouts plus walks; finesse, pitchers in the bottom third in strikeouts plus walks; and avg p/f, somewhere in between. Looking deeper into Gregorius numbers last year, and we see that he struggled the most against finesse pitchers. Which is strange because teams usually stack their power arms in the bullpen. And we just got done saying that Didi’s struggles against lefties are isolated to the bullpen.

JE (Jason) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 09:57 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 22, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4675305)
41 PAs against lefty relievers and 79 against lefty starters, and a .353 BABIP vs lefty starters (.290 overall). At this point you need a scouty-type argument about something in his swing or approach or whatever to make the starter-reliever gap look like anything other than random noise.
   2. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 22, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4675421)
Didi is a terrible hitter, he has always been a terrible hitter throughout his minor and major league careers, except for 10 glorious MLB games to start last year and 7 surprising games in the AAA launching pad at Reno. There's no need to parse tiny sample sizes of his approach as he has never shown any power or patience, he was never been very young for his levels, and has never exhibited any sustained improvement.

Towers fell love with Didi a year ago and traded the most valuable trade chit he has ever had with DBacks for him, and now is trying to dump him for far less despite Didi performing pretty much exactly as Didi should gave been expected to perform. Talk about canny resource management, skilled strategic planning and wise asset valuations all you want, but Kevin Towers won't understand what you are talking about

Sandy Alderson's people can read a stat line, they will not pay much for Didi knowing his ceiling is a good (but not great) glove, bad bat shortstop.

The best part of the silly article is the comments, one commenter says it Didi is a hard worker and that good hitters adjust to the league.

The question is not what good hitters do, it's what Didi will do.
   3. base ball chick Posted: March 23, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4675610)
seems to me i remember that the gritty didi gregorious is the centerpiece of the dbax team and will be the anchor at SS for the next 10 years and the stupid reds gave him away for peanuts - i swear i just read kevin towers saying something like that.

didi was supposed to be a total package

was he just a dick?

   4. I Am Not a Number Posted: March 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4675632)
Didi is a terrible hitter, he has always been a terrible hitter throughout his minor and major league careers

Isn't this a little harsh? A 94 OPS+ from a good defensive shortstop is pretty good. No?

   5. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 23, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4675703)
Isn't this a little harsh? A 94 OPS+ from a good defensive shortstop is pretty good. No?


Well a good glove short stop who is a 94 OPS+ hitter is a valuable shortstop, but all evidence is that Didi is not a 94 OPS+ hitter, and the jury is out on how good his glove is.

Didi Gregorious 111 career MLB games
OPS
+: 92 
rField
0 runs 


And all evidence suggests that his career 92 OPS+ is more likely to decline over time than it is improve.

Career slash lines
MiLB 
(450 games.273/.324/.381/.705
MLB .255
/.330/.369/.699 


Does it really seem reasonable that he should post a higher OBP in the majors than the minors? He was never young for his levels, he made AA half-way though his age 21 season, and never showed any consistent trend of improvement.

But he's done much better in the MLB so isn't that a sign of improvement? Yes it could be, or a hot start.

2013
April 18
-May 7 (10 games.436/.463/.769/1.233
May 8
year end (93 games.230/.317/.324/.641 


His last 93 games corresponded a lot closer to the ability he showed in his minor league than his over-all season did. How is he doing this year?

2014 Spring Training (41 PAs.205/.244 /.256/.500 
2014 MLB 0
-41 walk2 Ks 


The key part of the last line isn't his o-fer, its that he only got 4 PAs in the first 2 games. Why has Kevin Tower's soured on the "next Derek Jeter" and trying to trade him a year after he made that comparison? It's always been obvious that Didi's probably an 80-85 OPS+ hitter and a decent defensive short-stop, but not a wizard. Now it's even Kevin Tower obvious.

The counter to this is the sample sizes. Didi is still relatively young (24), should improve a bit. But I think his upside is unlikely to be more than a league average short stop and most of the time he ends up at the level of a useful backup.



   6. I Am Not a Number Posted: March 23, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4675783)
Gregorius may well go into the crapper, as you are vehemently arguing. And his glove may well be overrated. But your statement "he has always been a terrible hitter" is not true. He was not a terrible hitter in 2013. Lots of teams would have taken a 94 OPS+ from their shortstop.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 23, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4675917)
Gregorius may well go into the crapper, as you are vehemently arguing. And his glove may well be overrated. But your statement "he has always been a terrible hitter" is not true. He was not a terrible hitter in 2013. Lots of teams would have taken a 94 OPS+ from their shortstop.


You are cherry picking. He was awful in 2013, for the last 90% of the season. After May 20 his OPS was nightmarish.

He just happened to shoehorn 10 days of running hotter than the Sun in 5 years of consistent ineptitude.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: March 24, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4676168)
You are cherry picking. He was awful in 2013, for the last 90% of the season. After May 20 his OPS was nightmarish.


This is one of the least self-aware comments I've read. Pause for a moment and try to see who is the one that's cherry picking.
   9. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 24, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4676184)
and now is trying to dump him for far less despite Didi performing pretty much exactly as Didi should gave been expected to perform.


I think 94 OPS+ was better than he should have anticipated.

DiDi was 23, it happens sometimes that a player will make a great leap in ability at such an age, and in AA/AAA he was about league average- ordinarily that would translate to an MLB OPS+ of about 80, from 80 to 94? That's doable. Plus he hit better in AA/AAA than you'd expect from his performance in the low minors, that does suggest a guy who improved/has been improving. His minor league track record is not good, but it is nowhere hear as bad as someone like Brian Bocock's.
   10. The District Attorney Posted: March 24, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4676196)
I agree that, given a certain number of at-bats and a certain level of performance, I know of no reason to think that the guy who concentrates more of his good performance into fewer games or months is the worse bet. Although it seems like you could study that pretty easily (enough so that I bet someone has), and it would be interesting to confirm or deny.

That said, I also agree that the sum total of Didi Gregorius' career suggests that he's a lot worse than Chris Owings, and that he shouldn't be expected to do all that much going forward, although he probably wouldn't be the worst starting SS in baseball or anything.
   11. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 24, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4676359)
This is one of the least self-aware comments I've read. Pause for a moment and try to see who is the one that's cherry picking.


Saying he was an adequate hitter in 2013, when he was only adequate for 10 days, is cherry picking and doesn't disprove my contention he's always been terrible (he also had a fantastic 7 games in the AAA launching pad in Reno), he was a big detriment to the team at the plate for the last 90% of his season.

Arguing it evened out ignores that it doesn't even out the MLB games he sucked in 2012 or the 443 minor league games he sucked in before that, confining yourself to the season is an artificial restriction of no importance .

If Didi had gotten hurt halfway through his 100 game season you could then argue he was a good hitter because of his 50 games at 110 OPS+. But If he played 150 games his OPS+ would have been in the 80s and the delusion can't be argued any more.

So claiming a mediocre partial season as proof he's not a terrible hitter is like claiming a winning lottery ticket is proof of sound financial decisions.

   12. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 24, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4676372)
Saying he was an adequate hitter in 2013, when he was only adequate for 10 days, is cherry picking


Excluding the games where he was good to make your point that he is bad is, by definition, cherry picking. Someone else also cherry picking does not negate that you are ALSO doing it.

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