“Who’s That Guy?” is a new weekly Yahoo Sports feature highlighting a baseball player who you should definitely be watching this week. We’re not talking about the Mike Trouts and Max Scherzers of the world, instead it’s new and interesting players. Maybe a hot prospect who just got called up or a veteran role player having a moment.
Perhaps you’ve heard: The San Diego Padres hit a lot of home runs. More than 28 other teams in MLB, in fact. They also have a knack this season for hitting home runs that their opponents take exception to. First, it was Fernando Tatis Jr. and now it’s Trent Grisham.
Baseball loves to hate the offenders of the unwritten rules, so that’s just one reason that Grisham’s name is in MLB headlines. The other? He’s another young Padres player making an impact during their surprise season.
Heading into Tuesday night’s game, the Padres are only 1.5 games back from the first-place Dodgers in the NL West. Grisham’s homer fueled their eighth straight victory and now San Diego has 32 wins, only one fewer than the Dodgers’ MLB-best 33. And Grisham is one of the reasons why.
Why do you need to know him?
Let’s start with the homer, which definitely mattered. It tied Monday night’s game 1-1 in the sixth. The rest of the Padres harnessed Grisham’s energy and poured on five more in the seventh and eventually won 7-2.
Grisham had reason to be excited: It was a game-tying homer in the Padres’ big series with the first-place Dodgers. And, hey, it’s a homer off a future Hall of Famer — when you’re a 23-year-old in your second big-league season, that’s something that gets the adrenaline pumping.
He turned to the Padres dugout, admired his dinger and had a very joyous trot around the bases that seemed to agitate the Dodgers dugout. He enjoyed it a little too much for the liking of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (who is usually more progressive than the typical baseball fuddy-duddys) and some other fans who trotted out the same old tired respect-the-game arguments.
Roberts told reporters:
"I don't mind guys admiring a homer; certainly it's a big game, big hit," Robert said. "Really like the player. But I just felt to overstay at home plate, against a guy like Clayton, who's got the respect of everyone in the big leagues for what he's done in this game, I just took exception to that. There's a certain respect that you give a guy if you homer against him."
Padres manager Jayce Tingler countered with:
"It got us fired up, and we have fun. We play the game right, we respect the game, but we're going to have fun, and we're going to pull for one another. To us, that's all it is."
Where did he come from?
Count Grisham as another good Padres acquisition. He’s a former No. 15 overall pick for the Milwaukee Brewers who was traded to San Diego this past offseason in the Luis Urias deal. He played 51 games in Milwaukee last year, hitting six homers with a .231 average.
This year, he’s taken a step forward with a .272 average, nine homers and 20 RBIs. He’s also played in every game for the Padres, becoming one of their most dependable outfielders. In fact, besides Manny Machado and Tatis, no one has been more valuable to the Padres this year than Grisham. He has been worth 2.0 WAR, according to FanGraphs.
Is he a one-hit wonder?
It doesn’t seem like it. While Grisham didn’t carry as much luster as Urias when the Brewers-Padres deal was made, he’s proven himself a valuable contributor in San Diego. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be a Tatis-level talent next year. But he seems to be a more long-term contributor to a Padres team on the rise and not just a guy who irked Dave Roberts and the Dodgers that one time in 2020.
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