Didi staying positive amid May slump

Statcast data shows April's AL Player of the Month has hit into tough outs this month

May 16th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- After Didi Gregorius ripped a single in the fifth inning of Saturday's 7-6 victory over the Athletics, he gestured toward the home dugout at Yankee Stadium, half-jokingly asking for the baseball to be preserved as a keepsake.
That's how long it had felt between hits for April's American League Player of the Month, with that knock off Oakland's snapping an 0-for-30 skid that represented the Yanks' longest drought since 's rough patch of identical length in 2012.
"It's just something that happens," Gregorius said. "I got a hit. It's been a long while. You've still got to approach the game the same way. You've got to go by it day by day, don't have to change anything. Just trying to get better."
Gregorius hoped that represented the end of his struggles, but his search for better results has continued into the road trip. He is hitless in another 10 at-bats since then, including going 0-for-3 in Tuesday's suspended game against the Nationals.
"I'm still hitting the ball hard," Gregorius said. "Whatever I do, whether I'm hitting the ball hard or not hitting the ball hard, it's at somebody. There's nothing I can do about that. I'm trying to make good contact out there, and the results are not always going to be there."
Gregorius said that he guessed his hard-hit rates would be similar, and he is correct. Statcast™ measured him at 36 percent in March/April and 33.3 percent so far in May. However, his rate of barrels, or solid contact, has dropped from 22.1 percent to 6.7 percent, and he is hitting more grounders in May.

After hitting 22.6 percent of his hard-hit balls on the ground before May 1, Gregorius has done so at a 46.7-percent clip after it.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that he senses Gregorius has lined into some bad luck over the stretch, but that his shortstop is handling the drought well.
"From a makeup standpoint, he's great," Boone said. "He loves to play, he's tough, he's prepared. I think he deals with all that baseball throws at you, and baseball is going to throw bumps in the road at you when you're in the middle of being a great player. That's just the nature of being a hitter and being a ballplayer."
Gregorius said that he does not sense pitchers are attacking him any differently than they did in April, when he led the Majors in homers (10) and RBIs (30), ranked second in slugging percentage (.739) and tied for fifth in runs scored.
"For the years that I've been playing this game, I know that this game is a game of failure," Gregorius said. "That's what you learn from. When you accept that, that you're not going to get a base hit every time, it gets more manageable than trying to explode for some reason and next at-bat go up there and try to do the same thing. I think it's just learning some new stuff."
K.C. Clint
will be on the Yankees' roster at least through the upcoming series in Kansas City. Boone said that he sees an opportunity for the 23-year-old outfielder to score at-bats with the Royals scheduled to throw left-handers Danny Duffy and in the three-game set.
"I'm just here to get at-bats right now, man," Frazier said. "Obviously that's a big weight off my shoulders, to know that I don't have to sneak on that team flight right now. I'm happy. I didn't want to go back down without getting at least one at-bat to push for a spot. I'm going to make sure I'm prepared for that game and do the best I can."

Boone said that the Yankees' roster will be "a fluid situation," and general manager Brian Cashman indicated that his preference would be to carry 13 pitchers. Boone said the team "won't have [Frazier] here to regularly sit."
"I'm looking forward to facing lefties, righties, whatever it is," Frazier said. "I'm just excited to get back on the field with the guys. It feels better than it did when I debuted last year. There was a lot for me to get back to this moment. I'm just excited that I get to stay around, however long they keep me here, and try to make this really good team even better."