We know Yasmani Grandal is developing into one of the premier players at his position. One study shows him to be arguably the best defensive catcher in the MLB.
According to Baseball Prospectus, Grandal was second in the league in Fielding Runs Above Average, finishing two behind Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants. Aaron Gleeman of Prospectus tweeted the data Thursday.
Top catchers in 2016 Fielding Runs Above Average, per @BaseballPro:
+30 Buster Posey
+28 Yasmani Grandal
+17 Jason Castro
+12 Russell Martin
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) December 15, 2016
Prospectus describes the metric as the following:
“Fielding Runs Above Average is Prospectus’ individual defensive metric created using play-by-play data with adjustments made based on plays made, the expected numbers of plays per position, the handedness of the batter, the park, and base-out states.
The biggest difference between Fielding Runs Above Average and similar defensive metrics comes in the data and philosophy used. Whereas other metrics use zone-based fielding data, Fielding Runs Above Average ignores that data due to the numerous biases present. Fielding Runs Above Average instead focuses on play-by-play data, taking a step back and focusing on the number of plays made compared to the average number of plays made by a player at said position. The pitcher’s groundball tendencies, batter handedness, park, and base-out state all go into figuring out how many plays an average player at a position would make.”
Grandal was a mess in San Diego, battling through a suspension, tension with teammates and struggles at the plate. After being acquired in the Matt Kemp trade, he’s slowly blossomed into an effective starter with the Dodgers. Prospectus has long been a fan of his game, especially in the pitch framing department.
Now a few seasons cleared from a knee injury, Grandal is coming into his own. His average remains low, but he blasted a career-high 27 homers and 72 RBI in 2016, becoming a true slugging threat in the Dodgers lineup.