Gregorius playing like an MVP, even if Yankees can’t spell his name
The numbers. Goodness, the numbers.
Didi Gregorius could be arrested for impersonating an in-his-prime Alex Rodriguez with these numbers. The letters at Yankee Stadium could use some work, though that’s not his problem.
Having already exceeded his legendary predecessor Derek Jeter with certain accomplishments since trying on the pinstripes, can Gregorius add one piece of hardware that Jeter never quite landed?
Any chance Gregorius can wind up as the American League Most Valuable Player?
OK, welcome to another episode of “Small-Sample Size Theater.” Yet given Gregorius’ radical transformation over his four seasons in The Bronx, would it shock you if he worked his way to the top of an AL MVP conversation?
Gregorius homered and singled twice on Tuesday, driving home three runs and scoring one, to lead the Yankees to their fourth straight victory, an 8-3 pounding of the punching-bag Twins at Yankee Stadium.
“Not even just this month, but since he’s got here, what he’s done, being able to take over for arguably one of the best shortstops to ever play,” winning pitcher CC Sabathia said. “And we don’t even bring him up anymore, because Didi’s been that good.”
In the first 22 games of this young season, all of which he has started, Gregorius has eight homers and 27 RBIs, the latter of which gave him the league lead at the time of this game’s final out. The same went for his .787 slugging percentage, and his homers and on-base percentage (.442) put him among the league’s elite as well.
Want more grandeur? He is the first shortstop in major league history with at least eight homers and 27 RBIs in his team’s first 22 games, as per stats guru Katie Sharp.
How about a nightcap? As per James Smyth of the YES Network, Gregorius is one of three Yankees to go deep at least eight times and drive home at least 27 runs through 22 games. The other two are A-Rod (14 homers and 34 RBIs) in 2007 and Babe Ruth (11 and 30) in 1921.
“It’s not about the history. It’s about the team,” Gregorius said. “If we’re winning, then I’m good. That’s all I care about.”
The Yankees are winning and hitting, with Gary Sanchez contributing two homers Tuesday and Aaron Judge one, and rookie Gleyber Torres contributing a pair of singles and notching his first career RBI as the Yankees did damage to Twins ace Jose Berrios. Judge, who hasn’t let up in his sophomore season, and Gregorius have led the way.
“I know I feel good when he walks to the plate, and I know I feel good when he walks to the plate with runners on base,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He just continues to do things that really help us win games, impacting on both sides of the ball. … He’s obviously in a great place right now.”
Gregorius, not one to speak in specifics about his game, acknowledged his improved selectivity. With 15 walks, he’s well on his way to passing his modest career high of 37, set in 2013 with the Diamondbacks. If he sets career highs all over, at his position, he should put himself in the MVP mix. He placed 20th last year, his first time getting votes. Jeter’s best finish came in 2006, when he finished second to the Twins’ Justin Morneau.
Maybe if he reaches that rare air, the Yankees’ promotional folks can spell his name right. Social media went ablaze Tuesday when a Stadium rotating sign behind home plate advertised “Didi ‘Gregious’ Bat Day” on May 12.
Gregorius laughed when The Post showed him its story online about it. “What can I do?” he said. “I can’t fix that. If it’s on there, everybody knows already.” He continued, “It’s all over Twitter. It’s all over the place. This is The New York Post right now. It’s all over. What can I say?”
He can say, “Hey, spell my name right!” Why should he, though? His numbers speak pretty loudly, and effectively, on his behalf already.
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