Didi Gregorius could surprise for Arizona

Updated: April 22, 2013, 9:53 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Didi Gregorius' early history of offensive production will never be confused with that of, say, Jurickson Profar, because he hasn't hit more than seven homers for any team, and his on-base percentage has been modest. This is part of the reason why the Diamondbacks' swap with the Reds in December for Gregorius drew some industry-wide shrugs. He has been seen as a very good defender, and also as someone who might be challenged offensively in his career.

But part of the reason why sports are fascinating is that you never really know what will happen next, and there are signs that Gregorius is going to be better than expected at the plate. Sure, he had a nice debut for the Diamondbacks on Thursday, clubbing a home run on the first pitch he saw, and added two more hits in Colorado Friday night. But even before that, Gregorius had seemed to become more of a threat at the plate, with his good showing in the Arizona Fall League, spring training and Triple-A this year.

"I think he's going to hit," a rival evaluator, who saw Gregorius in person earlier in the spring, said Friday. "His swing looks to me like he's in and out of the zone real quick, but he's got lots of strength and lots of bat speed."

In other words: The left-handed hitting Gregorius has some tools to work and improve with, and his defensive skills demonstrate he learns and adapts. "I was really impressed with how he set himself defensively," the evaluator said. "He made his throws according to the speed of the runner, even though he's got a great arm, he does this thing where he seems to stutter-step when he [attacks] a ground ball. He almost goes through the baseball. He's an impact defender."