Randal Grichuk’s disappointing first half
When the Blue Jays signed Randal Grichuk to a five year, 52 million dollar extension back in April, I thought that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro had done very well to get ahead of his market, especially after a fantastic second half to the 2018 season when it looked like he had turned a corner in his career. So far in 2019, he hasn’t been the same player.
Yesterday I wrote about how I may have celebrated his extension too soon, but there’s a lot left to be decided before that question will be truly answered. Headed into last night’s game he was slashing .221/.280/.411 through 66 games. He’s added 12 home runs, 10 doubles and 26 RBI, but his strikeout ratio is 77-19.
After the Blue Jays traded Kevin Pillar to the San Francisco Giants, they’ve relied on Grichuk to help fill the void in centre field. He hasn’t been as sharp as a defender this year, currently sitting at a -0.5 dWAR rating, which would put him on pace for his worst season as a defender since entering the big leagues. To be fair, he has switched back and forth between centre and right field, but you’d still like to see those metrics improve in the second half even if he is moving back and forth.
Ideally, Grichuk would produce like the hitter that put up a slash line of .280/.326/.569 in the second half last season, using a patient approach at the plate and hitting the ball with power and authority. So far we haven’t witnessed that version of the 27-year-old this season, so hopefully he’s able to put together another post-All-Star break performance like the one he had last season.