Blue Jays: Randal Grichuk should be hitting better, and here’s why

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 3: Randal Grichuk
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 3: Randal Grichuk /

Right fielder Randal Grichuk was on the bench Friday night as the Jays took on the Yankees. Since coming to Toronto, he’s look lost at the dish, striking out in 39% of his at-bats and managing just five hits. Still, there’s reason to believe he’ll be able to get it together, and soon.

John Gibbons knows Randal Grichuk will hit, in fact, he’s convinced that one good game is all it’ll take to get him off the ground offensively. If anyone knows his guys, it’s the skipper himself.

Still, it’s been hard to find positives in Randal Grichuk’s offensive game. Sure, he’s looked great defensively, putting up positive defensive metrics throughout the early part of this season, but at the plate, he looks nothing short of confused.

As difficult as it is to do, let’s take a look at the numbers. In 57 at-bats in 2018, Grichuk is hitting .088/.185/.228 with two home runs and five runs batted in, appearing in 19 games. He’s stolen a base and has struck out an alarming 22 times while walking just five times.

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All told, he’s been worth -0.3 WAR overall. Defensively, he’s been in the positives, posting a 0.2 WAR. So far, he has only appeared in right field.

To a certain extent, it’s frustrating to see this immense lack of production from Randal Grichuk. Believe it or not, he’s sitting seventh in the MLB in barrels per plate appearance. Barrels per plate appearance, often abbreviated as B/PA, is a stat that measures a player’s ability to consistently put the “barrel” of the bat on the ball, making hard contact and hitting baseballs at positive launch angles.

Grichuk has a 13.8 B/PA, which is better than Manny Machado, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Want more? He also has a higher B/PA than Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, and Shohei Ohtani. From this angle (no pun intended), it’s clear that Grichuk is on his way to having more productive at-bats and is continuing to make hard contact despite the lack of results.

Now, this is not to say that the B/PA stat is the sole saving grace in this whole debacle, but it’s nice to know that there is a ray of shining light in the seemingly dark tunnel that is Randal Grichuk’s 2018 season. It’s nice to see, and right now that’s about all we have.

Yes, his strikeout numbers are incredibly high, and yes, he’s managed just five hits, but he’s getting close. Josh Donaldson once said: “this is the get it done league”, and so far, Grichuk has not been getting it done. As we speak, he is in danger of losing his starting job to Teoscar Hernandez.

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Still, I think we can all be cautiously optimistic when it comes to the offensive production of Randal Grichuk. Soon, those hard hit balls will find holes (or walls) and he’ll (hopefully) start hitting the ball with authority to all fields and cement himself as a middle of the order bat in this team’s lineup.