Blue Jays: Curtis Granderson Impressing Early
In a busy offseason that saw Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro make several sneakily productive moves, one, in particular, seems to get lost. Curtis Granderson, who signed to a one-year deal in late January, has been quietly valuable so far this season.
Much has been made of the unmeasurable leadership that Curtis Granderson brings to any major league clubhouse. A Roberto Clemente Award winner in 2016, he’s also been awarded the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award (an award that honours players who have contributed to their communities off the field) on two occasions.
While that’s incredibly important, many seem to lose sight of just how productive Grandy can be on the field. Over his career, Granderson has launched 319 home runs, stolen 151 bases and has smashed over 300 doubles in his 15-year career.
In 25 at-bats this year, Granderson is slashing .360/.448/.579 (entering Tuesday’s game against the Orioles) with just six strikeouts, two doubles, and a triple. He’s walked four times and has racked up 13 total bases. He also added a key home run in Tuesday’s game, putting the Blue Jays ahead in the ninth inning, and giving Aaron Sanchez a well deserved win. Defensively, he’s also fared decently, putting up average numbers in UZR and DRS categories, playing all of his innings in left field.
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So far, having Grandy platoon with Steve Pearce has been a fruitful endeavour, to say the least. Pearce has, in his own right, produced at the dish, slashing .286/.348/.800 with three round-trippers and five RBI.
With a solid OBP, Grandy could be a valuable leadoff man as Gibby and the crew figure out the optimal layout of their lineup. Thus far, the leadoff man has hit under the Mendoza line, striking out 12 times and drawing just five free passes.
The leadoff spot has also been somewhat of a revolving door for the boys in blue. We’ve seen Pearce and Devon Travis lead things off, with limited success (aside from Pearce’s recent resurgence as a home run threat).
Having a capable leadoff man is one of the elements to a successful batting order, and with Grandy quietly doing his thing, it’s possible we might see him at the top of the order more often. If he gets on base in front of Josh Donaldson and the red-hot Justin Smoak, this could be one scary lineup.