March 16th, 2013

March 16 – Happy Birthday Curtis Granderson

granderson.jpg

After an MVP-level season in 2011, in which he led the AL in runs scored and RBIs, the Grandy Man slumped a bit in 2012. He averaged a career low .232 and struck out a franchise record 195 times. But the native of Blue Island, IL did reach the 100 run, 40 HR, 100 RBI plateaus for the second straight season in 2012 and he is the only hitter in either league who can claim that achievement. That’s why I was always a bit perplexed by the significant level of negative press this guy got during his days in the Bronx. Yes he disappeared in the 2012 postseason but the same can be said of just about every hitter in the Yankee lineup.

Since 2013 was the final year of his Yankee contract and he was becoming eligible for free agency during the same season as Robinson Cano, conventional wisdom said that Granderson needed to have a career year in 2013 to get re-signed by New York. Thanks to just two pitches, he never got the chance. An exhibition-game fastball from the Jays’ J.A. Happ broke his left wrist in spring training and delayed his 2013 regular season debut until mid May. Just nine days later, an inside pitch from the Rays’ Cesar Ramos broke his wrist and put him back on the DL until August and when he failed to get hot down the stretch, his career in the Bronx was effectively over. He was signed as a free agent by the Mets in December of 2013.

It was toward the end of the 2010 regular season that Granderson, who had been hitting horribly against left-handed pitching, spent some time working with Yankee hitting coach, Kevin Long to improve his swing against southpaws. Those practice sessions resulted in one of the most amazing hitting adjustments I’ve ever seen a big league hitter make and in 2011, Granderson, who has a lifetime average of just .229 against lefties, raised that mark to .279. Curtis also provided the Yankees with strong defense in the middle of the outfield and his enthusiasm for the game was an important ingredient both on the field and in the Yankee clubhouse.

The Yanks got Granderson in December, 2009 three-team trade in which they gave up Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Tigers and starting pitcher Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks. All three of those ex-Yankees have performed well for their new teams as has Granderson. I’d love to see him remain in pinstripes beyond 2013.

Granderson shares his May 16th birthday with this former Yankee starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 NYY 136 528 466 76 115 17 7 24 67 12 53 116 .247 .324 .468 .792
2011 NYY 156 691 583 136 153 26 10 41 119 25 85 169 .262 .364 .552 .916
2012 NYY 160 684 596 102 138 18 4 43 106 10 75 195 .232 .319 .492 .811
2013 NYY 61 245 214 31 49 13 2 7 15 8 27 69 .229 .317 .407 .723
11 Yrs 1194 5073 4464 782 1161 202 80 218 609 123 517 1175 .260 .339 .488 .827
DET (6 yrs) 674 2896 2579 435 702 125 57 102 299 67 274 618 .272 .344 .484 .828
NYY (4 yrs) 513 2148 1859 345 455 74 23 115 307 55 240 549 .245 .335 .495 .829
NYM (1 yr) 7 29 26 2 4 3 0 1 3 1 3 8 .154 .241 .385 .626
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2014.