In 1990, Gregorius was born in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. He and his family moved to Curacao when he was 4 years old. Both his older brother, Johnny, and his father played baseball for the Curacao National Team. Didi also played basketball and was a swimmer.
- Gregorius’s real name is Mariekson Julius Gregorius.
Gregorius's father, also Didi, pitched in both the Dutch amateur and professional ranks. And the younger Didi was born while his father was playing baseball in Amsterdam.
"I started as a pitcher," he said. "It was a family thing. My father pitched. My brother pitched. They moved me to second, then third. I started playing short when I was about 15."
Didi is a natural leader, though a rather quiet one. He is very serious about the game, but is always smilling and laughing. He has fun working at the game.
At the 2009 World Cup, Mariekson played for the Dutch team, while his father and brother, Johnny played for the Netherland Antilles.
In the spring of 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Gregorius as the 15th-best prospect in the Reds' organization. He was at #19 in the winter before 2011 spring training. Then they moved Didi up to #8 in the offseason before 2012 spring camps opened.
In the spring of 2013, after being traded to the D'Backs, he was 5th-best prospect in their organization.
Gregorius speaks English, Dutch, Spanish, and Papiamento.
He played for the Netherlands' 2011 World Cup championship team.
Instead of being rewarded with for his athletic contribution in winning the Gold Medal, he was KNIGHTED, but only after passing a squeaky-clean background check. He really is "Sir Didi Gregorious." He is a knight!
- Didi and the Braves' Andrelton Simmons have known each other since they were 5 or 6 and played on the same team growing up on an island off the coast of Venezuela in the Dutch West Indies. They grew up about 10 minutes from each other and always attended the same schools.
"We were a good team. We didn't lose many games," Gregorius said of those youth-team days. "Really, we hardly lost at all."
"It didn't matter which one of us pitched," Simmons said of his close friend, "the other team wasn't going to hit either one of us."
Gregorius is apparently as great with the pen as he is with the glove. He is a very good artist.
Gregorius’ mother, Sheritsa Stroop, was a national softball player,
Let the record show that the first reference to "Starsky and Dutch," an applause-worthy blend of Starlin Castro's in-dugout nickname and Didi's heritage, was spoken on the air last week by Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman. It deserves to have staying power.
The double-play combination now boasts a 1970s cop show monicker, which seemed to be just about all they were lacking as they helped power the Yankees' first week of the 2016 season. It is never a cinch to jell with new teammates, but Castro and Gregorius have made it look easy.
"Everybody's doing his job," Gregorius said. "That's the main part of the team. It's just helping each other out. We look like we're really good right now, so we try to stay on the same page."
Plenty has been said and written about Castro's blistering start, owning a pair of homers and eight RBIs in the team's first five games, but Gregorius has been just as sturdy as he begins his second season in New York.
"I give them a lot of credit, because so far this season, there really has not been a weak link in the lineup," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They've all contributed. That makes it much more difficult for teams to navigate through our lineup."
Castro has credited Gregorius for helping his transition; the two had adjacent lockers during Spring Training and spoke often, something that has carried over into the regular season. They'll talk about offense, defense, velociraptors -- pretty much what you'd expect in a baseball clubhouse.
Wait, what? The crew at Yankees On Demand took note of the budding friendship this spring, having the players reenact a classic scene between Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in the motion picture "Step Brothers." (If you haven't seen it, you should.) "He's a really great guy," Gregorius said. "He's here to work, he wants to get better every day. We talk all the time and we're picking everybody's brain. That's why we try to keep it fun up the middle."
Castro and Gregorius were inseparable for long stretches of the spring, even heading once to a golf driving range in the Tampa, Fla., area, but they were most often found on the back fields with infield coach Joe Espada, honing their baseball (and comedic) timing. "He made the transition last year to second base, but he looks like he's been playing there," Gregorius said. "He's comfortable, he's doing everything the right way. I like playing with him." (Hoch - MLB.com - 4/11/16)
Didi considers himself an artist. He started drawing at 9 years old. Many of his drawings he has posted at sirididig18 tweeter account. Didi also has a hobby of flying drones. (Intentional Tallk - May 2016)
In addition to being the Yankees' shortstop, Didi is a knight (yes, for real, and you can call him Sir Didi). And what are knights supposed to do? Valorous deeds, of course. That's just what Sir Didi did on the morning of July 6, 2017. He gave some fellow travelers free rides on the subway.
Well ... maybe they weren't so free. Gregorius was a candidate in the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote, and was trading rides for #SirDidi4Sure tweets. (Kaneko - mlb.com - 7/6/17)
2007: The Reds signed Gregorius as a free agent, out of the Netherlands, Antilles (Curacao). Scout Jim Stoeckel signed him to a $50,000 bonus.
December 11, 2012: The Indians traded Choo to the Reds, acquiring P Trevor Bauer from the D-Backs in a three-team trade. CF Drew Stubbs went from Cincinnati to Cleveland, as did Trevor Bauer. The Tribe also received Bauer and RHP Matt Albers and RHP Bryan Shaw from the Diamondbacks.
Cleveland shipped Choo, INF Jason Donald, and about $3.5 million to the Reds, while sending LHP reliever Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson to Arizona. The D-Backs also received Gregorius from Cincinnati.
December 5, 2014: The Yankees acquired Gregorius from the Diamondbacks in a three-team trade that also involved the Tigers. Righthanded pitcher Shane Greene was traded from the Yankees to Detroit. And Arizona received lefthanded pitcher Robbie Ray and minor league infielder Domingo Leyba from the Tigers.
- Jan 13, 2017: Didi and the Yankees avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $5.1 million
|Birth City:||Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|Draft:||2007 - Reds - Free agent - Out of Curacao|
Gregorius is wiry strong, but doesn't have home run power to speak of. He sprays the ball around effectively. He has a good feel for the little man's game. Being a lefthanded-hitting shortstop is another positive in Gregorius's favor, though he has struggled against lefties throughout his career.
He is a solid bunter who uses his plus speed to his advantage.
Didi has come a long way with the bat, now even getting in good swings vs. lefthanded pitchers. He endeavors to stay real loose—to think less and react more.
He has a quick bat. He can get to a fastball, and that's what separates Major League players from Triple-A players. He is learning to adjust to other pitches. And he is learning to hit the ball to the opposite field. (Spring 2013)
- Some scouts think Gregorius could end up as a No. 2 hitter, while others think he'll fit at the bottom of a lineup.
D'Backs manager Kirk Gibson is impressed with Didi:
"He's got pull power," Gibson said. "He's pretty aggressive at the plate, but he battles. He sees the righties really well. He said he doesn't see lefties as well and we told him to make a little adjustment, open up a little bit and get your eyes squared to the pitcher, and it's helped him a lot."
April 18, 2013: Didi tried to keep his emotions in check as he rounded the bases. He did a good job of it until he got between second and third. That's when a giant smile took over his face.
"I was really happy rounding the bases," Gregorius said. "At first I was trying not to smile, but then I smiled anyway."
No one will begrudge Gregorius the his joy at hitting his first big league homer in his first at-bat as a D-back. While it was not his first Major League at-bat (he had 20 at-bats for the Reds in 2012), it took place in Yankee Stadium, a place he said he always dreamed of playing.
September 28, 2016: Some of the most recognizable names in Yankees history took their positions in the middle of the diamond, but for all of that talent, Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius have accomplished something that the likes of Derek Jeter, Willie Randolph, Tony Lazzeri and Phil Rizzuto never did.
Gregorius hit his 20th home run of the season in the Yankees' 6-4 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, joining Castro (21) as the first double-play combination in franchise history to each hit 20 or more home runs in a single season.
"My mom actually told me that [Tuesday]," Gregorius said. "Me and Castro, we talked in Spring Training about just trying to make something great. We said, 'Let's be the best we can.' We try to push each other and help each other out, on and off the field. It's great and it's fun.
"To be the first middle infielders in Yankees history, we can say that we added something to all the history that's already here."
Castro and Gregorius are just the third double-play combination in Major League history age 26 or younger to hit at least 20 homers, according to the YES Network. They joined the Astros' Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa (2016) and the Mariners' David Bell and Alex Rodriguez (1999).
Both Castro and Gregorius have established new career highs in homers this year; Castro's previous high was 14, done twice with the Cubs, while Gregorius' previous high was the nine he hit last season with the Yankees. ( Bryan Hoch - MLB.com)
As of the start of the 2017 season, Gregorius's career Major League stats were: .262 batting average, 42 home runs and 451 hits with 183 RBI in 1,734 at-bats.
Mariekson is athletic and has excellent body control. He displays excellent footwork at shortstop. He is very fluid in his actions and looks very natural at shortstop.
His glove-work is smooth, far ahead of his bat.
Gregorius has a great arm to go with some natural athleticism and good baseball instincts. He can make any throw, often without having to set his feet.
His arm is rated at 65 or 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. It is very strong, and his throws are accurate. He also has above-average range.
Didi's hands can be erratic at times. But like his range and arm, all are above-average assets, overall.
But he earned best infield arm recognition for two straight seasons in Baseball America's Best Tools surveys—in the low Class A Midwest League in 2010 and the high Class A Carolina League in 2011.
Gregorius showed his stuff by ranging 24.7 feet (mostly away from first base) as tracked by Statcast™ in making a spectacular play to rob Toronto's Kevin Pillar of a hit.
We could give you all of the impressive numbers about what Gregorius did in his first month (April 2015) with the Yanks—despite going the other way and not setting his feet, he still got nearly 72 mph on the throw—but what's important to remember is that a great play like this isn't just about who's making the out. It's also about who's on the other side of it.
Gregorius surely knew that Pillar could run and that he had no time to waste, which is why numbers like a throwing release time of just three-quarters of a second are important. Seconds matter, on plays like these. Sometimes fractions of a second do, too. (Petriello - mlb.com - 5/6/15)
It'd be easy to start off by saying that Didi has had a rough go of it trying to replace Derek Jeter as the Yankees' shortstop, but it's unfair to suggest that's actually what he's doing. No one could replace the legendary Jeter on or off the field. Gregorius's task is simply to prove that he's more than just a twice-traded 25-year-old who has yet to play a full season in the big leagues.
While it has indeed been a poor start of the 2015 season with the bat, offense isn't Gregorius' only job. With all due respect to the decorated and departed Jeter, shortstop defense had become a considerable problem for the Yankees in recent years. From 2012-14, Yankee shortstops finished last in every advanced defensive metric, even with Jeter missing much of 2013. Gregorius, on the other hand, had shown flashes of stardom but had generally ranked as about average, which is more impressive than it sounds. (If you're average, that means you're better than half the population.) In other words, "average" is an upgrade for the Yankees in terms of defense at shortstop.
- Didi runs well, but is not very aggressive on the bases. He doesn't have a knack for stealing bases, yet. (Spring 2013)
- From the left side of the plate to first base, Gregorius consistently clocks in at 4.06-seconds. So he has average, or a bit better, speed.
- He is learning to read pitchers better so that he can steal some bases.
January 2013: Gregorious began feeling discomfort in his right elbow while working out. It was a slight ligament issue.
- March 30-April 16, 2013: Didi began the season on the D.L. with a right elbow strain.
April 27-May 4, 2013: Gregorious was on the 7-day concussion D.L. with the D-Backs.
March 21-April 28, 2017: Didi was sidelined for six weeks with a sore right arm (with a strained subscapularis muscle in his throwing shoulder).
Gregorius was hurt while turning a double play for the Netherlands in an exhibition game against Arizona in preparation for the World Baseball Classic semifinals. He returned to the Yankees' spring camp.
''It just happened on one play,'' Gregorius said. ''It was just a regular throw and it happened.''