Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Granderson hitting like an All-Star
By Mark Simon
Daniel Murphy will be heading to the All-Star Game by himself next week.
If Curtis Granderson’s first four weeks with the Mets hadn’t gone the way they went, he’d likely be joining Murphy there.
Granderson had another big hit on Monday, a game-tying home run in the eighth inning against the Braves on Monday.
He’s now hitting .276 with a .391 on-base percentage and .895 OPS since April 29. The latter ranks seventh-best in the National League in that span.
The six players ranked above him -- Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Jonathan Lucroy and Yasiel Puig -- are all members of the NL All-Star team.
Monday’s home run was classic Granderson in that he did what he’d learned from Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long that turned him into a premier power hitter with the Yankees -- hooked an outer-half pitch over the fence for a home run.
In 2011 and 2012, Granderson hit 59 of his 84 home runs against pitches on the outer half of the plate, or off the outside corner. That was 14 more than the two players who ranked second over that span -- Jose Bautista and Mark Teixeira.
Monday’s home run was his eighth such long ball of the season. He’s got a little ways to go to chase down the leader, Nelson Cruz, who has 15. Citi Field has probably cost him a few. A cursory glance found that Granderson had three doubles, a triple and two fly outs at the park (all on outer-half pitches) that probably could have been home runs in a few other places.
Granderson now has six home runs in 85 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season, canceling out any thoughts from earlier this season that he might have to be a platoon player.
Granderson’s choosiness at the plate has helped, both with regards to his power and his on-base percentage. His 41 walks since April 29 are one shy of the most in the majors in that time (shared by Goldschmidt and Mike Trout). His 22 percent chase rate (the frequency with which he swings at pitches out of the strike zone) ranks 19th-best in the majors over that time.
That has made him an ideal leadoff hitter. In his last five games at the top of the lineup, he’s 7 for 20 with three home runs and three walks.
The only thing that hasn’t come with Granderson’s success is more wins. They were 14-11 entering that April 29 date we’ve repeatedly cited.
They’re 26-38 since.