Thursday, May 28, 2015

From Derek To Didi

Like this, only somehow with better writing, acting, and... well... just better.

I'm going to start off by showing you some of the achievements, or lack thereof, of two players.

Player A
-1996 American League Rookie of the Year
-14 time AL All Star
-3 time finisher in top 3 of AL MVP voting
-5 time Silver Slugger Award winner
-5 World Series Championships
-7 AL Pennants
-5 AL Gold Glove Awards
-2000 World Series MVP
-All Time Yankees Leader in Hits
-All Time Yankees Leader in Doubles
-All Time Yankees Leader in Stolen Bases

Player B
-Did not win Rookie of the Year
-No All Star selections
-No MVP votes
-No Gold Glove Awards
-Let's just say he has no awards of significance
-.243/.313/.366 before being traded to New York

I probably don't have to tell you who those players are, but just in case...

Player A is Derek Jeter, and Player B is Didi Gregorius.

Furthermore, I probably don't have to point out that Derek Jeter was not just some "role" player with the Yankees, but was arguably the best player to wear Yankees pinstripes since Mickey Mantle. Actually, Mickey is among just four players in the history of the franchise to amass a higher bWAR than Jeter.

Let the arguments continue.

So to say Didi Gregorius is under pressure as The Captain's heir at shortstop is perhaps the understatement of the century. How can a 25 year-old succeed in such an environment? Heck, when I was that age I was under no pressure, and to call me a "success" would have been laughable. Just saying I was doing "okay" in life at that age is a whopper. But here we are watching this kid trying to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Yankees of all time, and do so in an era where criticism is thrown at him from every possible angle.

Back in 1996, when Tino Martinez was playing first base after beloved Yankee Don Mattingly retired, he didn't have to deal with the internet and everything that comes with it (blogs, comment boards, Twitter, etc). Tino had to answer questions from a handful of beat writers for the local newspapers, and perhaps some national reporters too.

On that note, I don't think it would be a bad idea for Didi to shut down his Twitter account. Take a step back from all the craziness that goes on there. Sure, you could say he could ignore the idiots that run amok there, but you know as well as I that that's an impossible task. We have a little over 3,000 followers on Twitter, and I see some silly stuff every time I log on there. Didi, on the other hand, has over 26,000 followers. I'm sure he sees a lot more stupid stuff than I do.

Although, I do drive around Columbus every day, where stupidity runs rampant.

Gregorius will most likely never be a great hitter. His triple slash in AAA was .287/.350/.452, and it's very rare that a player exceeds or even meets those numbers in MLB. If Didi ever comes close to those numbers we should count ourselves lucky.

One thing we can all expect out of Didi is to be a great defender. While he's had plenty of brain farts in the field this season, we've also seen glimpses of greatness. He has a fantastic arm to go along with excellent range... two things that you can't teach a player. He can be coached on how to slow things down, and not try to do too much (see the flip play he tried to make in the 8th inning of yesterday's game). In fact, by this time next year, I'm willing to bet we will watch balls hit his way and assume he's going to complete the play flawlessly. And every once in a while we'll think "no way he's got that one", only to watch him pull off a Web Gem.

We all succumb to emotional knee-jerk reactions. When Didi strikes out in a big situation we're going to get mad. When he boots a ball that should have been routine, we're going to want to punch something or somebody (namely him). But I'm begging all Yankees fans to stop themselves from calling for Didi's head when he messes up, because... again... he's a 25 year-old kid following in the footsteps of one of the greatest Yankees of all time.

Now, if nothing's improved by the end of the season, then I may write something completely different about him here. But for right now, just 41 games into his career as a Yankee, I'm cutting him some slack.

If you still can't let your anger go, then here's a picture that should brighten your day.


  1. As a season ticket holder I reserve the right to boo any player I choose too and I don't buy that stuff of living up to Jeter. You field the ball the same way on any baseball field, you go to bat the same way on any baseball field, this is a kids game that we all wish we could play. If you don't have the goods then you don't last long in the game, its that simple. In my opinion Didi is a sub par player. Look at his amount of errors last year to this year and he is on pace to blow that number out of the water.

    1. If you don't believe in pressure, and the mental aspect of the game (ANY game), then I don't know what to tell you.

    2. Pressure exists if you let it exist. I go by the philosophy that the game is played the same way in every ball park. See the ball, hit the ball run. Field the ball and throw the ball. So to say that it is different for Jeter or Didi or the Ozzie Smith or any other player for that matter I just don't prescribe to that statement about him handling pressure. Again others don't agree with my comment about you are what the back of your baseball card says you are and his card is not what I would call anything earth shattering, but hey look at the elf who made the trade.

    3. So you are not only taking out the mental part of the game, but you're also grouping a guy with less that two season's worth of games spread out over four years with a guy that played over 2700 games spread out over 20 years.

      For your sake I wish the game was as black and white as you say, but like everything else in life it's not. To say I disagree with you would be an gigantic understatement.

    4. What I'm saying is the guys isn't that good and the reason why his games have been spread out over four years is exactly my point. He isn't good. Its like anything else in life you are good at some things and not at others. He isn't a good major league SS

  2. Hans, I agree and disagree. I agree that Didi is a subpar player. But subpar to what? League average, or all star? I personally think he's closer to league average. We didn't exactly have a lot of options on the ss market. As far as pressure in New York, some thrive (Nick Swisher), and some fail (Randy Johnson ). So to say that pressure doesn't exist in New York is an inaccurate statement.

  3. Johnson I believe won 17 games each of his two seasons so to me Levin that isn't failing. Let's hope we have a 17 game winner this season. Didi was made out to be great glove and 250 hitter. Here he is neither with almost as many errors as he had last year and he will be lucky to hit 250. Didn't like the move when it was made and don't like the move now.

    1. Randy had ERAs of 3.79 and 5.00 in his two years in New York, which are both higher than his career mark. Not to mention that 2006 was his 3rd worst season in MLB, the others being his 2nd and final seasons in baseball.

      While the game is about wins and losses, I find it crazy that people still quote pitcher wins as if it proves, one way or another, a pitcher's effectiveness. Plus, he was the 3rd highest paid pitcher in the league in both '05 and '06 in New York. To say anything along the lines of "Randy was Randy" while in pinstripes is ridiculous.

      Monday Morning Quarterback? How about Monday Morning GM?

    2. All that and you didn't even mention his run support while with the team.

    3. I knew you would bring it up.

  4. Wow, careful Hans! If you don't think Johnson failed in New York, you may have unwillingly admitted Cashman won a trade! Seriously though, maybe calling Johnson a failure is out of line. I was only trying to give examples of what New York can do to different personalities. Johnson did win 17 games both years. His second year, he was pretty lucky to win 17. He had an era at 5.00. The media and the fans got to him. In fact, I believe there was an altercation with him and either a fan or media person on the street. I can't recall which one. On the other hand, you have a player like Swisher that embraces it and thrives. He was a .220 hitter before New York, and a .200 hitter after New York. But in between, he was an all star.

  5. He had an incident with the media his first year when he came in for his physical. All I'm saying is I'll take a 17 game winner with a 5 era any day of the week and Bryan saying his salary being the 3rd highest paid pitcher means nothing to me. Let's look at CC and he is one of the highest in MLB and he has two lousy wins. All I'm trying to say to you guys is that numbers don't lie and that's what you are judged by as a ball player and hitting 220 or so and making bone head plays along with almost eclipsing his error mark for the entire 2014 in the first two months of the season has nothing to do with handling pressure. It has to do with his inability as a ball player. There is no pressure in Arizona and how did that work out for him?

    1. HANSEL....Just passing through.
      Sign me up...............numbers never lie. And, if the game confuses you...Go back to Arizona.
      Other than that, take that imitation Yankee...Posada.....back to the return isle.

  6. Ken H, I take it you have played the game at some point in life. But, I also would guess you were ok at it but nothing to write home about. (If I am wrong, I respectively apologize).

    People that are very good at their job will always have pressure, they are expected to come thru with the next big play, idea, invention or whatever! That is called pressure, the kind of pressure one must learn to control and understand how to live and play with. One can live with the pressure one puts on themselves easy, it is the outside pressure that bites some players. There is average pressure on an average player, therefore they don't feel there is pressure! There is great pressure on the very good players and the good ones don't feel any pressure at all, because..."Know thy self and be thy self" live it, believe pressure!

  7. Patsy apparently we have accountants on here that work for Bernie Madoff that don't realize that you can't fudge numbers in the game of baseball and numbers never lie. Very ignorant to say the least.

    1. HANSEL....I liked the Bernie Madoff line. Funny.
      Talk later.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)