This could be my last baseball post at Razzball. If so, it’s been real and you all shall be missed. The reason why I have my head on a swivel and hear Grey’s cackles reverberating through my dome constantly is that I write up players he hates. In addition, I may be committing the cardinal sin being a writer at Razzball as this post is about a catcher! Yeah, I done F’d up. But such is the life of being the trash man at Razzball. It’s a thankless job but someone has to do it. Last week, I brought you riveting analysis of one Mike Yastrzemski. This week? Another Yas shall be written about: Yasmani Grandal. I am impervious to those internet tomatoes being thrown at my head because I’ve got my helmet on. Suck it!
Before I begin this piece, if you are in a one-catcher league, be the last one to draft a catcher and this post will be irrelevant to you. In a two-catcher league, decisions have to be made for sure.
Grandal has been one of the preeminent offensive catchers in MLB for quite some time. Since 2016, he’s hit at least 22 home runs in five of the last seven seasons with an ISO above .200 in all but two. It was .193 in one of those two misses. The batting average has been in the .230 to .240 range while the plate discipline has always been excellent, posting a double-digit walk rate in all but one season. The strikeout rate has fluctuated from 21% to 29%.
He’s a switch hitter and has been both consistent and proficient from both sides of the plate. Against the lefties, he’s posted a walk rate of 18%, strikeout rate of 23.5% and a slash of .243/.379/.423 with a .180 ISO. Against righties, the walk rate has been 13.6%, strikeout rate has been 23.4% and the slash has been .235/.342/.438 with a .203 ISO.
In NFBC drafts, he would usually be drafted in the 100 to 120 range. After last season’s debacle, Grandal is being selected as the 260th overall player and 20th catcher.
So, last season, Grandal hit five home runs in 376 plate appearances. The ISO was .067 while the slash was .202/.301/.269. He dealt with a plethora of injuries, though, especially to the back and hamstring, which sapped his power.
“I don’t think too many people understand what it’s like to have a dead leg. When I hurt my back last year, both of my discs bulged and went completely out.”
Grandal is 34 years old and coming back from injuries. In 2020, he also suffered a devastating knee injury. So, that’s injuries derailing two of the last three seasons. Is there risk? Absolutely, but his price has been depressed too much in my opinion.
Following the 2020 season, Grandal bounced back with 23 home runs, 60 runs and 62 RBI in 375 plate appearances. The walk rate was 23.2%, strikeout rate was 21.9% and the slash was .240/.420/.520 with a career-high .280 ISO. I don’t think luck had much to do with it either. I’ve read so many articles that display the tremendous fire and work ethic that Grandal possesses. I definitely have put more weight upon the intangibles, as those are what separate the true players from the Milli Vanillis.
Over this past offseason, he’s been working out with Chicago Blackhawks strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman. He’s been pushing himself to the brink of passing out.
“My back is stronger. My mobility is better. I’m able to push more weight. I’m able to run more. I’m not getting sore. I’m not getting stiff.”
I normally dismiss “best shape of life” stuff, but the track record for Grandal regarding this holds weight.
It’s not just about health for Grandal. The banning of the shift is going to be huge for him. Opponents employed the shift on him 76.6% of the time, the 88th most in MLB. In 2021, the shift was utilized 94.2% of the time, the 8th-most in all of baseball.
Currently, Steamer has Grandal projected for 12 home runs in 337 plate appearances. Obviously, I think that number is too low, as it’s likely taking the average of the last three season, but two of those were injury-riddled. If Grandal returns to form, 20+ home runs with 60-ish runs and 60 to 70 RBI and a .200 ISO are well within the range of outcomes. Those numbers would be similar to Willson Contreras, who is being selected as the 6th catcher and 87th overall player in NFBC drafts from February to March.
If he bombs or gets injured, whatever. Just drop him and pick up that turd you would’ve selected anyways, The risk/reward seems very favorable to me.
a. Please don’t go. But if you must I will be happy to know that others elsewhere will benefit from your in-depth analysis and sound logic/reasoning!
b. Grandal in round 20 in a standard 5×5 RCL, right? One catcher leagues.
c. Jerry Seinfeld quote of the day for March 11, 2023
You ever wonder why Silicon Valley even exists? I have always wondered, why do these people all live and work in that location? They have all this insane technology; why don’t they all just spread out wherever they want to be and connect with their devices? Because it doesn’t work, that’s why.
in his New York Times op-ed “So You Think New York Is ‘Dead'” (24 August 2020)
Ha! Love it. In a one-catcher league, I will be the last one to draft one, so it doesn’t matter who I get