Didi Gregorius Joins List of 20 Greatest Dragons
Dayton, Ohio-The Dayton Dragons today announced the next name on their list of "20 Greatest Dragons." The player recognition is part of the organization's 20th Season Celebration. Players selected on the list of 20 are being announced in random order leading up to the Dragons 20th Opening Night game on Thursday, April 4 against the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
Next on the list of the 20 Greatest Dragons is:
Gregorius, a native of the island of Curacao in the Caribbean, was the Dragons everyday shortstop throughout the 2010 season. He continued a long succession of Dragons shortstops to reach the Major Leagues, a seven-year streak that began with Paul Janish in 2005 and continued with Adam Rosales, Chris Valaika, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Miguel Rojas, Gregorius, and Billy Hamilton in 2011. Gregorius was a tall, slender athlete with the Dragons, remembered by close observers for possessing one of the strongest arms of any infielder in Dragons history. He played in 120 games for the 2010 Dragons and as a hitter, he was still developing the strength and power that would later become a trademark in the big leagues. His speed was a primary asset; he legged out 11 triples for the Dragons, just one short of the club record, and he added 16 stolen bases. He batted .273 with five home runs but showed clear potential for the future.
Gregorius moved quickly through the Reds farm system and by September of 2012, he was in the Major Leagues in Cincinnati at the young age of 22. With Cozart firmly entrenched as the starting shortstop for a Reds team that won 91 games in 2012, Gregorius was included in a three-team trade that brought starting center fielder Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati. After two seasons with Arizona, Gregorius was traded to the New York Yankees, a team in need of a shortstop after future hall-of-famer Derek Jeter had retired following the 2014 season. Gregorius became a fixture for the Yankees upon his arrival, replacing Jeter in the lineup and emerging as a star.
Gregorius has hit at least 20 home runs over each of his last three seasons with the Yankees including a career-high 27 in 2018. He hit 10 homers in the month of April for the '18 Yankees, becoming just the fourth shortstop in the last 100 years to reach double-digits in home runs through his team's first 27 games. Those efforts earned him the American League Player of the Month honor. He finished the year as the A.L. leader in fielding percentage at shortstop and for the second straight season, finished in the top-20 in the A.L. MVP voting. Still just 29 years old, Gregorius likely has many big years in his future.
Gregorius is the seventh former Dragons announced among the 20 Greatest Dragons. Austin Kearns, Zack Cozart, Justin Turner, Homer Bailey, Samone Peters, and Devin Mesoraco were previously announced.
The 20 Greatest Dragons were selected based on a media vote of Dragons television, newspaper, radio, and internet reporters. Additionally, during the 2019 season, the Dragons will be conducting a fan vote featuring one player per position to announce their all-time greatest lineup.
The Dragons will host their "20th Season Celebration Game" on Saturday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Field. The game will match the 2019 Dragons ("Team 20") against a team of Dragons alumni who are still playing in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system.
Individual game tickets for the Dragons 20th Season Celebration Game are available now. Go to daytondragons.com/celebrationgame or Ticketmaster.com.
Additional information on the Dragons 20th Season celebration including videos on the 20 Greatest Dragons, special 20th Season merchandise, and Dragons alumni listings is available here: https://www.milb.com/dayton/team/20.
Images from this story
Didi Gregorius with the Dayton Dragons in 2010
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Midwest League Stories from February 25, 2019
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