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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RAB: Axisa: The Curtis Granderson Slump

To understand hitting, you have to be a Kevin Long - or Jim French.

One player who has most certainly not gotten his mojo back is Curtis Granderson. The 31-year-old outfielder is stuck in a 1-for-18 rut at the moment, but this is something that goes back much further than the last week. Granderson is hitting just .205/.266/.419 since the All-Star break and .215/.306/.415 in his last 281 plate appearances (!) overall. That dates back to early-June, so we’re creeping farther and farther away from small sample size territory. After hitting a robust .262/.364/.552 (146 wRC+) last year, Grandy is down to just .236/.330/.480 (116 wRC+) with roughly six weeks to go this year.

I’ve noticed two things about Curtis during this slide that may or may not be meaningful in terms of the root cause for this slump. For one, he’s just flat out missing hittable pitches. We all know about the strikeout issues — 28.2 K% on the year and 30.6 K% during this 281 PA sample — but I’m talking specifically about pitches out over the plate that he’s either fouling off, putting into play weakly, or just whiffing on.

...Granderson’s slump is something that predates his ill-fated stint as a leadoff hitter, and is something he and hitting coach Kevin Long need to figure out relatively soon. The work they did in August 2010 was almost literally an overnight fix; he went from being a straight platoon guy to an MVP-caliber hitter in the span of like, 36 hours. That isn’t the norm though, these things tend to take some time. The Yankees are scheduled to face three real tough lefties — Derek Holland, Franklin Morales, and Jon Lester — from Thursday through Saturday, so that might be a good time to give Curtis some time off just to recharge the batteries. He can get off his feet (he’s played the field a ton this year due to Brett Gardner‘s injury, so maybe he’s just worn out), clear his head a bit, and hit the cages hard in an effort to get back to being the impact hitter he’s expected to be. Right now, he’s close to a dead spot in the lineup.

Repoz Posted: August 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 15, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4209163)
.215/.306/.415 in his last 281 plate appearances (!) overall.

Walk rate -- check
ISO -- check

BABIP -- PANIC

Or ... this just in, Granderson probably didn't become a true 140 OPS+ hitter at age 30. His overall numbers this year are roughly in line with his career numbers (after adjusting for somewhat declined offense) and better than his 2009-10 numbers. The article raises the LHP point which is a good place to look but he's hitting them OK this year -- 219/315/438. That's nowhere near as well as he hit them last year but better than his career and perfectly decent for a LHB.

(For those who don't think so, Thome's career vs. LHP is just a 767 OPS; Dunn is 784; the Granderson-esque Carlos Pena is 721; the great Adam LaRoche is at 754. Jason Giambi is a stud though, over 850.)

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