Did anyone in Major League Baseball have a better bad year than St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk?
For someone who was twice demoted and buried after a meager .462 OPS in June, things turned out not so bad for the 25 year-old.
His triple slash line of .240/.289/.480 of his 2016 season speaks to how much raw, incredible power Grichuk possesses. It also speaks to how far he has to go in regards to his contact rate and patience while hitting.
Grichuk may never hit .300 in a full regular season. He swings-and-misses so much, it’s almost expected for him to be in the .260 or .270-arena on a good day. Which would be fine if he took a few walks.
But that doesn’t really happen, either.
The Texas native’s 28 walks this season in 132 games followed just 22-in-103 games the year prior. Unfortunately, a high on-base percentage may almost never be a key part of Grichuk’s game. Things could certainly change as he gets older, sure. But right now it’s foolish to make that bet.
The former first-round pick’s entire game is built around power. Pure, raw, big boy power.
His 24 home runs and 29 doubles – along with three triples – is one heck of a way to get on base and make things happen. It’s very rare to see someone with an OBP below .300 but a slugging percentage of nearly .500.
That means Grichuk doesn’t get a boat-load of hits. But when he does connect, it usually is for extra bases. Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak’s off-season priority of upgrading center field is no indictment on Grichuk at all.
The Cardinals sacrificed athleticism all over the field in 2016 to get as much power on the field as possible. The solution to scale back that power in favor of more defense and athleticism is not solely a finger pointed at Grichuk.
The infield has its fair share of issues on that front, as well.
Grichuk’s bat plays anywhere. His power profiles at any spot – up the middle or on a corner. Sure, he would probably like to remain in the center of the diamond because that would make him far more valuable once he reaches free agency.
But it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, and that’s okay. Grichuk is a capable, if not spectacular, defensive center fielder who will be terrific defensively in left.
Should he take another step forward with his contact rate and patience – while maintaining the power he’s always had – you should still see a well above average player for the Cardinals in the future.
Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.