A year ago this week, Curtis Granderson was lost. He was hitting a career worst .239 with 10 hrs through 87 games and against lefties he was an anemic .206/.243/.275. This led Kevin Long to work with Grandy on a “total reformation of the swing” in the midst of an August pennant race.
Long got Curtis to close his stance to become more balanced, eliminate extraneous movement, shorten his swing and follow through with both hands on the bat rather than finish one-handed. Amazingly, the changes paid immediate dividends and have continued to help him to this day. Now that we are almost exactly one year from those fateful sessions in Texas, it’s a good time to measure the progress.
Granderson has played in a season’s worth of regular season games (158) since the reforms and here are the results:
— .271 ba – .364 obp – .562 slg – .926 ops with 157 hits in 580 AB
— He has 76 extra base hits including 24 2Bs, 10 3Bs, 42 HRs – 120 RBIs & 127 runs scored
— His strikeouts are still high with 162 Ks & 79 BB, he’s stolen 24 bases in 35 attempts
Those are huge numbers and they cannot be considered as lucky or Small Sample Size anymore as they have covered 665 Plate Appearances.
Is this sustainable?
No doubt that KLong’s work with Curtis has been paramount in this turnaround. He throws left handed batting practice to him on a regular basis and he will be vital if Granderson is to continue this success. Grandy had a similar season in 2007 only to go into a 3 -year regression which led to the reformation.
— His 2007 Ratios .250 ISO, .913 OPS, .395 wOBA & 141wRC+ with 84 XBH & 122 Runs
— His 2011 Ratios .289 ISO, .928 OPS, .398 wOBA & 152 wRC+ and is on pace for 93 XBH & 143 Runs
So as indicated, Granderson has shown this type of ability before but the main reason he is on pace to eclipse his 2007 career year has been his complete turnaround vs LHP. Even in 07′ he was a .160/.225/.269/.494 OPS hitter vs lefties and entering this yr was a career .215/.277/.353/.630 hitter.
But this year he has seen success vs LHP that he hasn’t even come close to in his 6 prior yrs in MLB. His .277/.347/.600/.947 line is a massive improvement. What is even more impressive is that he leads ALL MLB hitters with 11 HR & 33 RBI vs LHP! That’s not a misprint – he leads ALL of MLB, not just lefties but also right handed hitters. So he went from one of the worst hitters vs LHP to leading all of baseball in HRs & RBIs vs LHP. Amazing!
Is he A.L. MVP?
He is definitely in the conversation. Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez & Jacoby Ellsbury are his competion up til now. Bautista has had the best year but playing for a 4th place team will hurt him. Gonzalez has hit very well and been a popular choice but Curtis has 10 more HRs and is very similar to AGonz in most categories except for BA & OBP. Ellsbury has come on very strong lately and has been great in every category. Grandy has a chance if he finishes strong and the two Boston players steal votes from each other. But my vote would go to Bautista at this point.
In any event, he’s proven this year that the adjustments he made last August weren’t just luck. Let us know if you think he will continue to bash lefties in years to come and whether he should be the A.L MVP.