Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em: Has Curtis Granderson’s Fantasy Value Peaked?

Granderson slugged his way to another 40/100/100 season in 2012, the second straight year he has achieved the feat. However, that doesn’t mean that fantasy owners should blindly invest in him, looking at him only through rose colored glasses. When you look at the numbers, there are a few red flags that need to be addressed.

First, and probably foremost, is his ever increasing strikeout rate:

  • 2008 – 17.6%
  • 2009 – 19.9%
  • 2010 – 22.0%
  • 2011 – 24.5%
  • 2012 – 28.5%

How much higher can it go? No one knows, but keep in mind that his only month below 25% was in April (24.8%) and he was above 27% each of the final four months (including months of 34.0% and 31.6%). It’s a trend that is going to make it highly difficult for Granderson to ht for a useful average.

Yes, you can argue that his .232 average came due to poor luck (.260 BABIP), especially given a line drive rate of 23.0%. However,he had been below 20% in three of the previous four seasons, so the likelihood is much greater that he regresses here than repeats. Couple that with an enormous strikeout rate and you get another year below .250, regardless of how many home runs he hits.

Speaking of the home runs, he truly has become an all or nothing hitter. Last season, while he hit 43 home runs, he only had 22 additional extra base hits. While he has never been a big doubles hitter, that’s not really the type of number we want to see.

I’m not about to predict that Granderson is going to suddenly lose some power at 32-years old, but it also isn’t impossible. Without the presence of additional extra base hits, Granderson would become even more one dimensional.

You also have to wonder exactly where Granderson fits in the Yankees lineup. While he has spent time hitting second, it is obvious with his current skill set he’s not a fit for that spot. Hitting fifth, given Alex Rodriguez’ injury, makes that much more sense. In other words, you can basically take 100 runs off the table for 2013.

Will he drive in 100? Most likely, but his appeal is quickly shrinking.

I am not trying to say that Granderson does not hold appeal, because he definitely does. However, it is easy to imagine that the cost of Granderson will far outweigh his potential production in 2013. With that in mind, he is a player I wouldn’t recommend targeting in 2013.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think Granderson could maintain similar production in 2013?  Why or why not?

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