6. Didi Gregorius, SS (L)
Many people within the Phillies organization are happy that Didi Gregorius has re-signed to a two-year, $28 million deal. Joe Girardi, who also managed the shortstop with the New York Yankees, is usually the first in line to praise him.
“I know what he brings on the field and in the locker room. I think he solidifies our infield and keeps everyone in the right spot and right frame of mind,” the skipper recently told reporters. “Didi plays the game with love and hunger and I think it wears off on other people. For me, I think he’s a real leader and I think it was important that we got him back.”
The top observation Girardi noticed in Gregorius this past season was that he continues to improve as an offensive player, to the point where he is a “middle-of-the-order hitter” and is “very dangerous.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re right-handed or left-handed, he’s very productive,” Girardi continued. “That’s where I’ve seen a ton of growth in Didi.”
Gregorius is known to put the ball in play. He has yet to have a season with more than 85 strikeouts. Over his past 1,150 plate appearances dating back to 2018, he has struck out just 150 times — a 13 percent rate.
The fact that the Phillies lineup is so deep that they can afford to hit Gregorius in the sixth spot is a positive sign. This past season, Gregorius received 65 plate appearances batting sixth. He slashed a respectable .273/.354/.491 with one double, one triple, three home runs, and seven RBI, while walking more times (6) than he struck out (5).