Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Conversation: Curtis Granderson has been in a slump for 2 years

Curtis Granderson is a good player. I do not care what you say, Granderson is a solid player. I have had conversations with people who say things like "Granderson is not very good, he has a little bit of power but that is it." No, just please save your breath, your wrong. On the other hand, I praise everyone who is able to glean what kind of talent Granderson has, spit it back out and say "he's good." He is a solid, everyday player. Obviously there are a couple things that Granderson can improve upon: his OBP is one thing. A career .341 is just barely above average and his .327 mark in 2009 and .324 in 2010 is definitely something he can work on.

But I am not writing this post so beat down on Granderson, no, I am writing this post to tell you why he is good but has just gotten un-lucky for two straight seasons

I know, it sounds a little weird. Getting un-lucky for two seasons in a row? He posted a .249 batting average in 2009 and a .247 average in 2010 look like it might be a little worrisome. Well there is an explanation.

Granderson's line drive rate has been consistent through his two "down years" posting a 21.2% and 19.9% in 2009 and 2010 respectively while holding a 20.6% career rate. With that in mind, Granderson also had a .275 BABIP in 2009 and a .277 BABIP in 2010. The league average for BABIP is right around .300 so that  number is below average by a decent amount. Usually, a BABIP that has trended downward for at least two years means that player might be getting worse. Obviously not with Granderson.

Granderson has just been in a slump for two season, essentially.

Granderson got off to a slow start in 2010 and to add insult to injury (more like add injury to insult), took a  trip to the disabled list and missed about a month of the season and when he came back, he still was not completely "there" until Yankee's hitting coach Kevin Long made some changes to his batting stance. Granderson now rests his bat against his shoulder with his hands at his chest where as he used to hold his bat above and in front of his head. By holding his hands next to his chest and having his bat against his shoulder, he is able to get around on pitches much easier without really rushing any of his mechanics through swing. Long also had Granderson end his swing with two hands on the bat instead of one hand which makes his wrist turn over more explosive.

These new hitting mechanics are key for Granderson to break out of his "2 year slump" and put all his talents together. Granderson is a player that the Yankees need to step up to that next level and explode.

I think that a three year slump for a player is completely absurd, never mind a two year slump, so this should be a good year for him. It seems nice to project a .280/.350/.480 with about 30 homers, maybe about 32. Also keep in that Granderson has speed and the potential to steal you 20 bases, which he has done before.

ONE THING TO PONDER: This is just one thing to think about that I found interesting: Granderson's ISO was .213 in 2008 when he hit 22 homers but in 2009, when he hit 30 homers, his ISO was .204. I considered that in 2008 he hit 13 triples and 8 in 2009 which might have been the difference. Leave your thoughts as a comment if you please.

(Statistics in courtesy of: fangraphs.com)  

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