New York Yankees‘ outfielder Curtis Granderson is currently working his way back from a broken forearm he sustained in spring training and recent reports say that he is very close to returning. Granderson is being seen as a guy that will be a very big addition to the lineup when he returns.
This is an understandable way of thinking because Granderson has been a productive player for the most part over the coarse of his career. However, in recent years, he hasn’t been nearly as much of a high-average hitter as he was early on. This definitely has to do with his new home-run-or-nothing approach at the plate since working on his swing with Yankees’ hitting-coach Kevin Long midway through the 2010 season.
When Granderson first put on pinstripes, he was known for his stellar speed but that attribute has gone pretty much hidden since his arrival in the Bronx. That is not to say that he isn’t fast anymore because he definitely is. It’s just that his attitude at that plate is causing him to get on base far less and strikeout a lot more.
To put it in perspective, in 2006, Granderson had a .302 batting average and 141 strikeouts for the Detroit Tigers while this past season, he posted a .232 average and 195 strikeouts. Obviously, it’s worth noting that he has also increased his home run put out from 23 to 43 over that same period.
Granderson’s increasing power with his swing is also leading him to getting far more extra-base hits when he does make good contact, so his chances to steal second are shrinking mightily. He is walking somewhat more, but the overall drop-off is still greater.
The point is that if Granderson simply learned how to be more of a complete hitter and didn’t swing for the fences as much then he would be a much more valuable player. This would not only be a positive for the team, but it also would be a benefit for Granderson as well because he is approaching free agency this off-season.
Teams would be much more interested in a center fielder that can put up a .280 average, 30-35 home runs, 100 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases rather than what Granderson is currently bringing to the table.
If he can do this and not fall back into the type of rut that he was in during the 2010 season when this change was originally made, then by all means it is time for Granderson to change things up.
Chris Ronca is a New York Yankees writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter; @ChrisRonca.