Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Say what you will about Yasmani Grandal‘s flaws, “he’s not a catcher”, “framing has severely overrated him”, “there’s no way this type of production continues”, whatever qualms you might have/ have had with him (some legitimate, some not), he’s blowing away everybody’s expectations.
Remember when he was a PED guy who couldn’t figure it out at the major league level? When his OPS was lagging behind the “beloved” guy traded for him? Yeah, me either. Pedro Moura posted this yesterday after he hit his 15th dinger of the year:
Maybe some have tuned out because there are way more interesting narratives to follow than a former steroid enhanced catcher becoming the team’s most irreplaceable asset, but really, at .292/.399/.516 he’s flirting with the most aesthetically pleasing thing in baseball, the .300/.400/.500 batting line. In today’s game, getting that production from a catcher translates to being about 59% above the league average which is impressive on it’s own, but after realizing that catchers around the league are hitting .239/.302/.376 (or a 87 wRC+), Grandal basically owns a line 72% better than what his peers are contributing.
Putting Yasmani’s line in historical context is very difficult, he’s basically been platooned (for no good reason other than rest) as he’s only been given 40 plate appearances versus left handed batters thus far. The theory is to give him as much rest as possible because wearing Grandal down this season Salvador Perez style is a fools errand. However a straight platoon always seemed to be a bit much and Grandal has taken the lions share of playing time now that A.J. Ellis is sitting with right knee inflammation.
Regardless, Grandal’s production this season has been very under-appreciated, cause just look at this
[table id=22 /]
The bigger deal is that Yasmani Grandal has become a player where you don’t need to turn to the idea of framing and potential breakout value to realize that he’s a really freaking good player. He’s turned the corner, made everybody forget about Matt Kemp, and has become the team’s most irreplaceable player.