Batter’s Box: The Grandal-King

Ben Palmer takes a look at some of the best hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

Yasmani Grandal has looked like he’s picking up right where he left off last year, but this time with more power, especially after yesterday’s 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI performance. As it stands, if Grandal plays about as many games as he has the past two years, he’s on pace to hit about 26-27 home runs, which would match his career-high from 2016. So that leads to the age-old question—is it legit? At first glance, there are some encouraging stats—specifically the fact that his hard-hit rate is at a career-high 41.3% and his barrel rate has improved to 10.3%, the best it’s been since that 2016 season when it was at 12.4%. But a closer look reveals that this may not stick—his launch angle and exit velocity haven’t changed at all, and while his value hit percentage has gone up from last year to 9.7% (from 7.1%), his poor hit percentage is sitting at a career-high 25.9%. To make matters worse, his .249 average comes with a .232 xAVG. All this is to say that I think the power is fairly legit, I could see him hitting just over 20 home runs like he did last year, and I think his OBP is fairly legit given his 11.6% walk rate, but I think that average has a chance to come down some. Likely you grabbed Grandal off the waiver wire earlier in the year, and if you’ve got him and another solid catcher on your team, I’d try and sell off Grandal and get some value based on his current numbers before a cold streak kicks in.

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:

Brett Gardner (OF, New York Yankees) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Gardner’s been on fire lately, slashing .380/.392/.700 over the past two weeks. I don’t see him getting to the 20+ home runs he got to last year, I always thought those 21 home runs last year were a bit fluky and a function of an elevated HR/FB rate. However, I think Gardner can be reasonably useful, with a decent shot at something like 12-15 home runs and close to 20 steals while batting in the .260s.

Brandon Crawford (SS, San Francisco Giants) – 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Brandon Crawford has been excellent this year, slashing .327/.377/.507 on the season. That average is due for some regression, especially given his .390 BABIP, but he’s also got a .294 xAVG, so I don’t necessarily think it’s going to drop massively. Either way, he’s been killing it this year and is available in 34% of leagues, so enjoy it while it lasts, and if you can sell high, I’d do it.

Gorkys Hernandez (OF, San Francisco Giants) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Hernandez has quietly been having a pretty solid year, slashing .289/.329/.472 on the season. However, there’s not a lot here given a couple things—first, he’s on the Giants, so runs and RBI aren’t going to be as easy to come by, and second, he’s got a .382 BABIP and a .247 xAVG, so I’m not expecting this to stick for much longer.

Ryan Braun (OF/1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI. I realize that Ryan Braun’s .236 average has been hard to stomach this year, but it’ll get better. It comes with a .261 xAVG and a .256 BABIP, so some positive regression is in order. He’s currently on pace for over 20 home runs and over 15 steals, so if the average improves, we’re still looking at a quality player who’s (for some reason) available in 28% of leagues. I’d buy low if you can.

Kevin Pillar (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Pillar has been struggling lately, slashing .188/.204/.354 over the past couple weeks, but I still think he’s likely going to end up with a year similar to last year, which is useful in deeper leagues.

Jason Kipnis (2B, Cleveland Indians) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. A good game for Kipnis who’s actually been pretty good lately, slashing .308/.345/.538 over the past two weeks, but I don’t think there’s a ton of value here. However, if you want to ride the hot streak, I’m fine with that.

Jose Martinez (1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. JoMart has been awesome this year, especially given that he was drafted so late this year. I think he could hit around .300 the rest of the year, but he’s probably more likely going to be a high-.280s/low-.290s hitter the rest of the year. Either way, who cares, he’s awesome.

C.J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. C.J. Cron has been crushing the ball, with a .216 ISO on the year and is on pace to hit nearly 30 home runs, but I think that’s a product of an elevated HR/FB rate (20.9%) than an actual increase in power. His hard-hit rate is up some, from 35.8% last year to 37% this year, but he hasn’t seen an increase in exit velocity or launch angle. He’ll still have good power, but I don’t think he’s going to hit 30 home runs.

Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Everyone was concerned about the lack of power from Altuve this year—well he’s got a .241 ISO over the past two weeks. He’s fine, and amazing.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, Texas Rangers) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Choo’s been on a great hot streak lately, slashing .333/.475/.729 over the past two weeks. He’s worth grabbing for the streak, and he’s a very useful player in OBP leagues given how good he is at walking.

Ian Kinsler (2B, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Kinsler has a .209 BABIP on the year, I anticipate he’s going to get better, and considering he’s slashing .291/.328/.636 over the past two weeks, I think it’s happening now.

Paul Goldschmidt (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. Shame on anyone who gave up on Goldschmidt earlier this year, he’s awesome.

Khris Davis (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Khris Davis Khrushing home runs, as per usual. Dude has a .500 ISO over the past two weeks, that’s amazing.

Ben Palmer

Senior columnist at Pitcher List. Lifelong Orioles fan (which can be....painful at times) and a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music and watch way too many movies.

6 responses to “Batter’s Box: The Grandal-King”

  1. theKraken says:

    I’m pretty sure most people gave on Goldy lol… Remember when Crawford was finished earlier this year? Baseball is a crazy sport to follow!
    Joc Pederson had another home run yesterday, which goes will with a great week.

  2. Kevin says:

    Is Schebler for real? 6 out of 8 multiple hit games in a row. Breakout sleeper for ROS?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      Oh definitely someone I’m keeping an eye on, especially given how good he was for portions of last year. I expect his average to come down some, but he’s got a .282 xAVG, so I don’t expect it to be a ton.

      I am somewhat concerned about the fact that his value-hit percentage has dropped from 8.9% last year to 5.4% this year, and that his launch angle has dropped from 11.3 degrees last year to 6.9 this year, but I’m absolutely keeping an eye on him

  3. Bump Wills says:

    hey Ben– would you rather Braun or Donaldson ROS?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      That’s a good question. I think I’d lean Braun just because I think he’ll have a better average and better speed. Donaldson may have more power, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to make up for the average and speed advantage you’ll get from Braun.

  4. Launch Angle says:

    In a standard, season long roto- R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG – in what order would you want these C:

    Sal Perez, Willson Contreras, Posey?

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