Curtis Granderson Player Projection No 18

Key Stats: The big story in baseball today is the Wilpon’s settling out of court in the Madoff case. So the Mets avoided court… yay? How come no one is taking the Yankees to court when they stole Granderson from the Tigers in 2009? I’m not sure what the statute of limitations is on grand larceny in NY State, or is this a Federal matter since it crossed state lines? In anycase, while Ian Kennedy has held up his end of the deal, Phil Coke isn’t as good as Coke Zero and Austin Jackson is like Curtis Granderson before Curtis Granderson decided to be Curtis Granderson, but somehow we feel will never be Curtis Granderson. 2011 numbers and major league rank in parenthesis follow: 41 HR (2nd), 119 RBI (3rd), 136 Runs (1st…by a lot), let’s not forget the 25 steals he had as well. It is not an outlandish statement to say Granderson helped many people win championships last year. Career year? Career year. Do we pay for career years the following season? Not always. Can he do it again? Maybe…

Skeptics Say: Despite the delicious numbers posted last season, in his “career year” the Grandy Man still only batted .267. Not a big deal though right? Historically fly ball hitters have lower averages, since a fly ball that doesn’t clear the fence is generally an out. In 2011 Granderson posted the 2nd highest FB% of his career. Further review shows us a career high in HR/FB rate at 20.5%… I would think with that his batting average should have been a little bit higher than .267 though… right? For comparisons sake, Jose Bautista, who had only 2 more HR’s last year, posted a 46.1% FB rate and a 22.5% HR/FB rate and managed a .302 AVG. We can’t assume that Grandy’s FB rate is going to go down at all as it’s been pretty steady the last 3 years. His HR/FB spiked last season though. What is Granderson going to bat next year if (when) that drops back down to a more career friendly 12-14%? Not only that, but how many HR’s will he hit?

Peer Comparison: In Yahoo! drafts, Granderson is the 6th OF taken on average, just after Carlos Gonzalez and just before Ryan Braun. Assuming that the late position for Braun was due to the uncertainty of his suspension, we can be confident now that Braun will now be off the board at this time moving Giancarlo Stanton to the spot right behindGranderson. Carlos Gonzalez is the guy we should look at here. The same type of power/speed threat that Granderson is.

Granderson/Gonzalez
Year AVG OBP SLG HR RBI Runs Steals FB% HR/FB
2009 .249/.284 .327/.353 .453/.525 30/13 71/29 91/53 20/16 49.3/38.8 12.6/16.7
2010 .247/.336 .342/.376 .468/.598 24/34 67/117 76/111 12/26 47.2/36.6 14.5/20.4
2011 .262/.295 .364/.363 .552/.526 41/26 119/92 136/92 25/20 48.0/33.6 20.5/20.8

Breaking it out year by year shows how much more consistentCarGo has been. He showed a similar jump in HR/FB rate from ’09 to ’10 that we saw from Granderson last year, but Cargo was able to maintain it. Combining that with his declining flyball rate leads me to believe that Cargo’s power is more legit. Granted Cargo dropping from 34 HR’s to 26 is a concern, but when you see that he played in only 127 games and still managed 26 gophers you exhale. Cargo being drafted ahead of Granderson shouldn’t be a surprise, but maybe seeing how closely they are being picked to each other is?

Is looking at Granderson and comparing him to McCutchen more fair? McCutchen on average is being take a full round after Grandy, but he is the next OF off the board with power and speed.  Granderson easily dominates here, but McCutchen has shown better speed so far in his career. Being only 25 this season McCutchen is still growing and people are suggesting he could go 30/30 this year. We could speculate that Granderson has probably hit his power ceiling, and could threaten 30 steals. His batted ball profile though doesn’t make me thing that he could hit for a better average than McCutchen. Grandy still has the lineup advantage, and a ballpark advantage over him though, making these players more evenly matched than the ADP gives them credit for in my opinion.

Team Outlook: The Yankees are the Yankees. They are a year older, but still play in a favorable hitter park, and will still score runs and hit the ball far. I don’t think Granderson will match the counting stat numbers he put up last year, he isn’t going to fall on his face either.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sports Line – #5 Outfielder; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com – #7 Outfielder & #21 Overall; RotoChamp – #23 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP – #7 OF and #19 Overall

2012 Projection: I know I’ve knocked Grandersonaround a bit for his average, but truth be told, he is still a very valuable player for your fantasy team. He is worth a 2ndround pick for sure, but don’t draft him expecting a repeat of 2011. His AVG andHR’s (and by association RBI and Runs) will drop.

.250 AVG, 31 HR, 92 RBI, 90 Runs, 21 steals, .341 OBP and a .851 OPS in 560 AB’s.