Is Yasmani Grandal Really More Of A #2 Fantasy Catcher?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal was one of the best catching options early in the season, hitting .267 overall in the first half.  However that number was buoyed by one big month (.337 in May), and things really took a dramatic turn after the All-Star Break (.217 in 180 AB).  The real problem was that he appeared to be selling out for some power, as he struggled in two key areas:

  • Inflation in fly balls
  • Horrific plate discipline

The fly ball problem was unique to the second half, as things ballooned from 36.4% in the first half to 45.5% in the second.  He owns a career 37.2% fly ball rate, so there is reason to call it an aberration.  At the same time he posted a fly ball rate north of 40% in each month starting from June, culminating in a 51.3% fly ball rate in September.

The plate discipline was an issue throughout the season, as he posted a career worst 11.9% SwStr% and 31.6% O-Swing%.  This is another sign of an over-aggressiveness, with an eye towards maintaining the power he showed last season.  After getting off to a slow start (5 HR over the first two months), he did hit at least 4 HR per month moving forward (11 HR in 180 AB in the second half).

Of course the issues with his plate discipline, inflated fly ball rate (at the cost of his line drive rate) and lack of foot speed makes it impossible for him to hit for a strong average.  This makeup would indicate that his second half mark is more believable than the first, and that’s backed up by a .240 career mark (and much of that came with much better plate discipline).

Just to further complicate things, Grandal settled into a platoon role last season playing mostly against right-handed pitchers:

  • RHP – .250 with 20 HR in 352 AB
  • LHP – .233 with 2 HR in 86 AB

Sure he’d be on the favorable side of things, but the lack of AB also caps his power potential.  If we are talking about 20-24 HR without much of an average (.230ish range), does he really differentiate himself from the pack?  The name is going to bring appeal, but he’s never proven capable of being more than just another catcher and the second half metrics indicate even more risk.  There simply isn’t enough upside and far too much risk to consider him anything more than a low-end option come draft day.

Source – Fangraphs

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