Keep Yasmani Grandal left-handed
Following a slow April, “Yaz” is heating up in May. He’s in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak in which he’s raised his average by over 50 points. During Spring Training, I predicted that Grandal would hit around .290 with less power, and his May hitting is shaping up to be that way. There is a problem though; all of this production is coming from the left side of the plate.
Grandal hit homers from both sides of the plate on Opening Day, but since then that’s been it as a right-handed hitter. The ex-San Diego Padre has found most of his success as a left-handed hitter throughout his career, which makes one wonder if he should just stay that way.
Offense is not the priority for catchers, so it’s hard to suggest him splitting time with another catcher who hits lefties better, but it may be an option later in the season.
The Dodgers’ front office proved they were willing for Grandal to share time when they brought Carlos Ruiz over last year. So far, Grandal’s been the shot caller behind the plate, with Austin Barnes serving as his backup. The Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox each have two catchers that can hit lefties, but it may be hard to pry them away. The addition of a backup catcher also provides Dave Roberts flexibility with his bench which he demonstrated in the 2016 Postseason.
Barnes had done relatively well, hitting .275 in 40 at-bats with his highlight being a dramatic walk-off against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If Barnes keeps his numbers up, he could be the guy against lefties in September and October.