As a catcher, being traded to a new team causes more adjustments than simply becoming accustomed to a new clubhouse.
After catching for the San Diego Padres for all three years of his MLB career, Yasmani Grandal must now adjust to a new pitching staff. The catcher was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deal that sent Matt Kemp to San Diego.
Grandal recently discussed the methods of becoming accustomed to his new set of pitchers with Chad Thornburg of MLB.com:
The more I catch them, I get a little bit better with them,” Grandal said. “For now, it’s really just talking game plan and things they like to do in different situations, counts. … I think that’s, for now, the one thing we can do the most.”
While these adjustments might not come easily, Grandal brings to the table a slew of defensive assets, such as his ability to frame pitches. He is known for his pitch framing as he was rated as one of the best in 2013 and 2014, which will be new for the Dodgers pitchers as A.J. Ellis was rated as one of the worst.
This spring, Grandal is batting .250 with one home run and four RBIs. While not exceptional, he beleieves he can improve upon these numbers with more practice:
Everything comes with time,” he said. “You just don’t pick up the bat and become a good hitter straight off the bat. It’s just like catching a new guy.”
If he can produce at the plate, Grandal will surely be one of the Dodgers’ better acquisitions this offseason. However, he must stay healthy. In 2013, an MRI revealed damage in both his MCL and ACL, which ended his season. Knee injuries in catchers can be a red flag, but the catcher has stated that he is 100 percent heading into this season.
With Grandal behing the plate, the Dodgers look to have a more consistent catcher in 2015.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Yasmani Grandal