Thursday, September 04, 2008

What's Right with Curtis Granderson?

In the middle of June, I wrote an article entitled "What's wrong with Curtis Granderson?". On June 14, he was batting .240/.297/.431 and some feared that 2007 might have been a career year. I looked at the stats and concluded that he was being less aggressive than he had been in 2007. He was also hitting fewer line drives and had a very low batting average on balls in play (which I guessed was just bad luck). I thought he would improve as the season went along and he has - even more than I expected.

Table 1 shows that he has now caught up to his 2007 pace in most areas. His batting average (.306) and OPS (.903) are similar to last year and his OBP is higher (.389 in 2008 vs. .361 in 2007). The only area where he is a little behind last year's pace is slugging average (.514 vs .552) but I'll trade some slugging for OBP especially for a lead off hitter.

Table 1: Curtis Granderson's standard stats

Year

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

OPS+

2005

174

.272

.314

.494

.802

113

2006

679

.260

.335

.438

.773

98

2007

676

.302

.361

.552

.913

136

2008

526

.306

.389

.514

.903

137



Table 2 (abstracted from Fan Graphs) shows that his walk rate has dramatically improved - 11.5% in 2008 vs. 7.8% in 2007. That, of course, is a great thing for a lead off hitter. His strikeout rate (17.8%) is the best of his career by a significant margin. The next three columns indicate that he might be taking a somewhat different approach this year. He has averaged 4.24 pitches per plate appearance this year compared to 3.98 in in 2007. He is also swinging at fewer balls outside the zone (OSWING%) and inside the zone (ZSWING%) this year than last. This all indicates that he may be less aggressive at the plate this year compared to 2007. That can be a good thing or a bad thing but it seems to be working for him. The most positive result here is that his contact rate is at about league average this year (80.4%) after being 70.8% two years ago. It's very rare to see that kind of improvement on that particular stat.

Table 2: Curtis Granderson's plate discipline stats


Year

BB%

K%

P/PA

OSWING%

ZSWING%

Contact%

2005

5.8

26.5

4.07

21.4

59.3

77.4

2006

10.0

29.2

4.08

20.4

63.2

70.8

2007

7.8

23.0

3.98

23.4

62.4

77.8

2008

11.5

17.8

4.24

19.0

58.2

80.4


A look at his batted ball data in Table 3 shows that his BABIP (.344) has gone back up to a normal level (He was at .250 earlier in the season). His ground ball rate (40.7) is still up and line drive rate (18.8) still down from last year which probably explains his decrease in power.

Table 3: Curtis Granderson's batted ball data


Year

BABIP

GB%

LD%

FB%

HR/FB

2005

.324

45.4

18.5

36.1

11.7

2006

.337

38.9

22.2

38.9

10.9

2007

.362

34.2

21.0

44.8

12.5

2008

.344

40.7

18.8

40.5

10.5



His hit charts on MLB.COM for 2007 and 2008 show that, although he is still pull hitter, he hitting the ball to the opposite field a little more this year. Just based on memory, I think that he is less of a pull hitter the last couple of months than he was earlier in the season and I believe that's one of the reasons for his second half surge.

Finally, the most important improvement for Curtis this year is that he is no longer hopeless against left-handers. After batting .160 against southpaws in 2007, he is up to .277 this year.

So, all is well for Granderson offensively. There will be no quadruple twenty this year but he has become a more disciplined and complete hitter which bodes well for the future.

1 comment:

  1. Grandy is steaily developing into a complete player.

    ReplyDelete

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