Good Luck Pitching to Yasmani Grandal

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Yasmani Grandal is off to a flaming hot start since coming back from the injured list. In 13 games since August 27th, he is hitting .452/.571/.952 and there is no indication that he will be slowing down anytime soon. Let’s take a look at what he’s doing so well this year.

Plate Discipline

Since the beginning of the 2020 season, Grandal has employed an extremely patient plate approach. He is swinging at the first pitch 13% less than MLB average. He also has elite strike zone recognition. His walk rate this season is at a career high 24%, which is in the top 1% of the league and he chases pitches out of the zone 13% less than league average.

What this means is Grandal is forcing pitchers to show him everything they’ve got in order to extend the at bat and allow Grandal to wait for his pitch. In terms of what he can hit, Grandal has improved his slugging percentage against breaking pitches by .240 this season. So not only is he effective versus the fastball, but he can also do damage against pitches with more deception and movement.

I believe this is in part due to Grandal’s elite chase rate. Since he is not chasing pitches out of the zone, he is forcing pitches to throw to him in-zone. That being said, his in-zone percent is actually the lowest of his career at 45.5%. It’s possible that this is because Grandal has become such a powerful threat in the line-up and pitchers are pitching around him. This is something that is worth looking into moving forward to confirm that pitchers are actually pitching around him, and are not just missing their spots.

Quality of Contact

Not only is Grandal recognizing pitches well, he is also capitalizing. While he does have a tendency to swing and miss more than the average hitter, his strikeout rate has improved from his career high 30% in 2020 to a slightly above league average 23% this season. When he makes contact, it is quality contact.

Grandal’s hard hit rate is among the top 2% of the league at 55%, and his barrel rate is a career high 16%, which puts him in the top 8% of the league.

Grandal is a switch hitter and has performed better against left handed pitching as a right handed hitter this season with a 1.179 OPS. However, over the course of his career he’s done a better job of hitting for power as a left handed hitter. As a left handed hitter, he has 134 home runs, versus only 34 as a right handed hitter. I trust his career splits over this season in terms of how we will produce moving forward.

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Above Average Defense

Very rarely do you find a catcher who is effective both offensively and defensively. Grandal is having the best offensive season of his career and remains an above average defensive catcher in terms of framing and defensive runs saved.

Looking forward to the rest of the season and the playoffs, Grandal has a lot going for him. It seems like he can do it all at the plate and behind the plate, and his injury hasn’t slowed him down one bit.