A week ago, the New York Yankees were sitting at .500. Their stars — Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge — weren’t doing much to help the team make a run and it was looking really gloom for the team early in the season. Yankees fans took the radio airwaves to start questioning the Stanton trade and the Aaron Boone managerial hire. It was a pretty annoying time to be a Yankees fan so early in the season.
Boone knew something had to be done. Eight days ago, the Yankees made the radical move of batting Stanton fourth and letting Didi Gregorius bat third. The move didn’t payoff at first — though Stanton hit a home run in the second game he batted cleanup. No, it took last Saturday for the Yankees to really pick things up. Having Judge and Stanton surround Gregorius has proved to be an early season genius move for Boone because Gregorius is on a complete tear.
Gregorius has hit third for the last nine games of the season. In that span, he’s hitting .417/.450/.861 with a 1.311 OPS to go along with five home runs and 14 RBI. The incredible tear he has been on makes it seem like no matter what Judge or Stanton do in front and behind him, Gregorius is going to get good pitches to hit and make pitchers pay every time.
The heir to Derek Jeter’s throne at shortstop even came through with a clutch home run in the team’s 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night. There’s no stopping Gregorius so far this season and it really is all because he’s sandwiched in between some of the biggest stars in baseball.
Gregorius is making a super early case for American League MVP. It is way, way, way too early to even start thinking about awards season right now. But if you wanted to argue about it, I would argue Gregorius is in good shape to take home some hardware — and hopefully some bling — this season.