I have been looking forward to do this one. Not only because it is about my favorite team but most of all because it is about my favorite player on that team by far. Today in “Summing up the Dutchies per MLB organization”:
Number of Dutchies: 1
Didi Gregorius has the very same nickname as his father, who pitched in the Dutch Major Leagues for Amsterdam Pirates (now L&D Amsterdam Pirates), (the renowned) Haarlem Nicols, ADO (from the Hague) Sparta (Rotterdam) and Almere 90.
Didi (Mariekson) was born on February 18, 1990 in Amsterdam and also played for Pirates before his family moved back to Curacao, where he played for the Santa Maria Pirates.
In 2008 Didi debuted with the Cincinnati Reds Gulf Coast League team. In 31 games he collected 15 hits (.155) and drove in nine. In 2009 he split the season between the BIllings Mustangs (Advanced Rookie Pionieer League) and the Sarasota Reds (A Advanced Florida State League). In 2010 he played for the Dayton Dragons of the A Full Season Midwest League, for which he batted .273. Didi moved to Australia to participate in the 2010-2011 Australian Baseball League season where he played for the Canberra Cavalry. He was awarded a gold glove for the 2010-2011 ABL season.
In the first two months of the 2011 season, Didi was on the DL due to a kidney disorder. Eventually he started the season with the Bakersfield Blaze (A Advanced California League) and was promoted later that year to the Carolina Mudcats (back then AA Southern League). After the regular season, Didi participated with the Dutch National team in the 2011 World Cup, and won the tournament by beating Cuba in the final by 2-1. He made one of the key plays in that finale as he kept the ball in the infield with a slick play, with a runner on second base. The Reds placed him on the 40-man roster to protect him from being picked in the Rule 5 Draft.
In 2012 Didi was one of the September call-ups after splitting the season with the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos and the AAA Louisville Bats. Didi made his MLB debut on September 5. After the season he played in the Arizona Fall League.
In the off season, Gregorius was traded to the Diamondbacks in a three way trade with the Reds and the Indians.
He started the 2013 season in the minors again, but pretty soon (April 18) he was promoted to Phoenix to replace the injured second baseman Aaron Hill. In his very first at bat he hit a homerun off Phil Hughes in Yankee Stadium.
Through the 2013 season Didi hit .257 in 103 games. But then his struggle vs left handed pitchers was obvious already.
In 2014 Didi had to compete for a roster spot with shortstop Chris Owings during Spring Training. The D-Backs named Owings their Opening Day shortstop and Didi was sent to AAA Reno. Eventually in June he was called up and he split time at short with Owings, something that didn’t work well for both.
Eventually the Yankees traded for him on December 2014.
In the first months he struggled both offensively and defensively, but in the course of the 2015 season he stated to find his groove. At bat he had a great month of July and early August, when his batting average surged to .260+ but lately he is in a slump again so his average has dropped to .251. His defense is stil outstanding despite his eleventh fielding error the other day. I expect him to play a lot better next season. The numbers of errors that he has were mainly made in the first months, when he must have been plagued by nerves because of adapting to a new (demanding) surroundings.
I think that Didi will be the Yankees’ shortstop for the coming years even though he has some competition waiting in the minors in the person of Jorge Mateo. And even if Jorge Mateo will play shortstop in the future, he still can be a nice double play combo with Didi at second base.