The Arizona Diamondbacks have a lot of young talent at the shortstop position that should make an impact now and well into the future. Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings, and Nick Ahmed all can be Major League stars at some point and Arizona is excited to have all three players in the organization. This year in Spring Training, the SS competition is between Gregorius and Owings. D’backs G.M Kevin Towers has said that he will not keep both on the Opening Day roster with the loser of the competition likely headed to the Minors. Veteran infielder Cliff Pennington who saw time last year at the position will be the backup. Towers says that if he keeps both Didi and Owings on the roster it will be bad for their development. Gregorius is out to prove to the coaches and Towers that he deserves to be the starting SS of the present and future for the D’backs.
How 2013 went: Gregorius joined the big league club in April and got off to a torrid start including hitting his first career home run at Yankee Stadium in an early inter league series between the Snakes and the New York Yankees. However, as the season went along and pitchers started to figure out his hot and cold zones, his offensive numbers declined suggesting that he might still need time to develop in the Minors. After a hot start in April when he batted .407, his average rapidly declined going from .293 in May to .241 by the end of June and in September he batted .182. One thing that did remain the same all season for Didi and (all D’backs players) was his defensive abilities. He showed great range at the position in 2013 and made every play while rarely committing an error. Despite all of his offensive struggles Towers considers him to be the favorite coming into Spring Training. Speaking to MLB.com Towers said “To me, the favorite has to be Didi. He was our shortstop last year. For a rookie, I thought he played very, very well. Great defender. He got off to a real hot start. The league probably caught up with him a little bit at the end. He probably got a little bit tired.”
Outlook for 2014: Didi will compete hard for the starting shortstop job with Owings who has quickly become one of the best all around shortstops in the Minors. He batted .330 last year in the Pacific Coast League and .291 with the D’backs in September, making all the plays in the field. If Didi wins the competition he will be the everyday starting shortstop for 2014. If he doesn’t win the job he will probably go down to the Minors until he gets his next opportunity with the D’backs or another Major League team looking for a shortstop.