For about a month and a half from when he made his late debut in mid-April to the beginning of June, Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Didi Gregorius was the talk of the town as potentially the next big breakout in MLB.
That seemed like eons ago, with the youngster having felt the full force of the major league learning curve between now and then, ultimately struggling through most of the summer that’s seen him put up a decent enough .274/.341/.403 over the first half despite a .588 OPS June and a .674 July — good, but not the type of sky-high, All-Star type season that he looked poised for.
Things have only continued to trend downwards in the second half, however, with the shortstop having put together a paltry .238/.330/.288 line thus far since the All-Star break, fading away with the Diamondbacks’ playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.
It’s not to say that the 23-year-old isn’t trying to work his way back, though.
In fact, that’s just what he’s been doing lately. Having notched another pair of hits in Monday’s Arizona win over the San Diego Padres, Gregorius has now successfully hit in seven of his last nine games, with four of them being multi-hit performances. He’s hitting .300 with a .741 OPS over the last 14 days, which a good sign that he might be heating up …
… well, if he wasn’t only hitting singles, anyway.
Despite posting a strong 13.0 percent walk rate, it’s the fact that he’s still slugging just .350 in that two-week span which has limited his impact and counting numbers production to just a grand total of four runs and two RBIs.
Now, that might not mean so much given that he’s batting at the bottom of the order, but with all of four doubles and no home runs to his name since the break to go with his defensive shortcomings, you could make a pretty good case for utility infielder Cliff Pennington being just as good, if not a better option for the team given his glove.
In fact, with Pennington’s 0.4 fWAR topping Gregorius’ 0.1 … that’s been exactly the case since the second half. And if you were wondering, no — that’s not exactly what you’d call a flattering comp for the youngster.
So while Gregorius may be showing some signs of life again, the fact is that he’s still a -0.1 fWAR player in August, and there’s plenty of work left to be done.