The 2013 season was not a great one for San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, with a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs and a torn right ACL in July book-ending dismal production on the field (one home run and 10 RBI in 124 total at-bats with the Padres and in Triple-A). He has been part of a three-catcher rotation with Nick Hundley and Rene Rivera so far this season, but Grandal has started the last six games he has played and has an extra-base hit in each of his last four games. After his home run Monday night, Grandal now has three home runs and 10 RBI with a slash-line of .254/.338/.465 over 71 at-bats this season.
Should fantasy baseball owners now pay attention to Grandal?
Grandal’s knee does not appear to be a lingering issue right now, and the Padres don’t seem to have any concerns with how much he’s played over the last week or so. He was productive with San Diego as a rookie in 2012 (.297, eight home runs and 36 RBI over 192 at-bats), so if not for the suspension to start the season he may have taken a significant step forward last year.
Grandal has only spent one full season season in the minors, and he hit .305 with 14 home runs and 68 RBI over 105 games in the Cincinnati Reds’ system in 2011 before being dealt to Padres as part of the Mat Latos trade. So it’s safe to say he has the potential to be a solid offensive player, and at age 25 Grandal is likely just entering the prime of his career.
Grandal is not yet a top mixed league option for this year, but he is worth an immediate look in NL-only leagues for owners that want to upgrade their catcher depth. I also think he is an underrated potential addition in keeper leagues, even with playing his home games at pitcher-friendly Petco Park over at least the next few years.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.