Diamondbacks Prospect Didi Gregorius Out with Elbow Injury
Arizona shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius, acquired this past winter from the Cincinnati Reds in the three-way Trevor Bauer trade with the Cleveland Indians, is sidelined with an elbow injury and probably won't be ready to start the season on time. This news is a couple of days old, but it hasn't received a lot of attention yet outside of Diamondbacks circles. The key point here is that Gregorius won't be ready for Opening Day and will likely start the season down in Triple-A once the elbow issue is cleared up, assuming of course that it clears up as easily as Kevin Towers hopes.
Here is my take on Gregorius entering the season:
Didi Gregorius, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
Bats: L Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 175 DOB: February 18, 1990
2010: Grade C; 2011: Grade C; 2012: Grade C+
The Diamondbacks picked up Gregorius from the Reds as part of the three-way Trevor Bauer trade with the Indians. The first thing everyone mentions about Gregorius is his defense, and for good reason. He's developed into an excellent defensive shortstop with good range, a top-notch arm, and more reliability than most young infielders. He'll certainly stick there long-term and might conceivably challenge for Gold Gloves eventually. The question for Didi is offense. Although he runs quite well, he's not much of a stealer and is passive on the bases for some reason. He makes contact and has a non-terrible grasp of the strike zone, and occasionally he will surprise you with some pop, but overall his hitting has been pretty marginal. Given his defense, the Diamondbacks will live with blah hitting for now and hope that it improves as he gains strength and experience. He will have more value for a real team than a fantasy team, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him have some surprisingly good offensive years in his late 20s. Grade B-
ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Although I don't love his bat, I think there's enough there for him to play regularly provided that expectations are kept reasonable. He strikes me as the kind of player who can blossom offensively later in his career. He has just 185 at-bats in Triple-A, so the delay caused by the injury isn't that big of a deal from a development perspective. Once he is healthy, going down to Reno for more at-bats isn't going to hurt him and will probably help his development.
This assumes, of course, that Arizona's doctors are right about the injury being a non-factor in the long run. At least it isn't his shoulder, but his arm is his best defensive attribute and I imagine, hope anyway, that they will be as cautious as possible.