What will the Phillies do with newly-acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius?
This was a move that most of the baseball community saw coming. Philadelphia had a gaping hole at the SS position (with Jean Segura’s fielding declining), and newly hired manager Joe Girardi has always had a very strong relationship with Gregorius.
The addition of the now ex-Yankee is obviously a significant upgrade for a multitude of reasons. He’s a career .264 hitter who regularly plays above-average defense, and the extra lefty “pop” he provides to a lineup is the icing on the cake (three 20+ HR seasons).
With that said, the question now arises: How will Girardi incorporate his new Dutch infielder in Philadelphia?
The acquisition of such a versatile player gives the Phillies a ton of options heading into 2020. Didi has played a multitude of batting order positions in his career. Gregorius’ power and raw ability to hit the ball are without a doubt his best traits, seemingly making him a good fit for a middle of the lineup position.
However, with guys like Harper, Realmuto and Hoskins already manning those spots, Gregorius could see himself playing a different role.
The Phillies could head two routes, first being to slot him at the 2-hole, and hope he can capitalize on McCutchen’s elite OBP. Second, they could run him deeper in the lineup and hope he provides a little extra *juice* to the back end of the team.
Considering Gregorius recorded just a .276 OBP in 2019, he appears to be a better fit as a slugger behind All-MLB First-Team Catcher: JT Realmuto. Although I’m sure Girardi will experiment with his lineup creations, here’s a quick glimpse at a projected 2020 batting order.
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- Andrew McCutchen, LF
- Scott Kingery, 3B
- Bryce Harper, RF
- Rhys Hoskins, 1B
- JT Realmuto, C
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Jean Segura, 2B
- Adam Haseley, CF
There are two main “wild cards” to keep in mind with this lineup projection. First, the Phillies may not be done adding yet. The addition of an Anthony Rendon or Kris Bryant would completely alter the team. Second, Hoskins mightily struggled with his swing last season.
If Hoskins continues to underperform in 2020, expect Didi to be bumped up higher in the order (maybe even into the cleanup spot).