On August 10, the Dodgers beat the Phillies 9-3 in a game where Yasmani Grandal hit his 18th home run of the season. “The power has always been there, it’s just a matter of staying healthy,” Grandal told the media after that game. Indeed, when healthy, Grandal is a top 5 catcher in Major League Baseball. For instance, Grandal was healthy throughout much of the first half of 2015, and he made himself an All-Star catcher, slashing .282/.401/.526 with 14 home runs.
But when injured, Grandal is a shadow of himself. Just look at the end of last season. Chris Anders of Beyond the Box Score tells us how bad Grandal was for the club at the end of last season:
At some indeterminate point in the second half of the 2015 season Grandal injured his left shoulder. From August 1st until the end of the season he put up a 37 wRC+ and a .064 ISO, a far cry from the 128 wRC+ and .181 ISO he had carried up until that point in his career.
Still, the Dodgers elected to start Grandal in 3 of 5 playoff games where he slashed .100/.182/.100 in 11 plate appearances. Chris Anders breaks down the results:
Like in 2015, Grandal has not been healthy all of this year. But let’s face it, it’s tough to keep a catcher in top playing condition over the course of 6 months and 162 games. Then again, this doesn’t matter much. What’s more important is that Grandal is healthy and producing at the right time. Unlike last year, Grandal’s injuries this year effected the club during the first half of the season. However, in the second half, Grandal has gone on an offensive tear:
— Samantha Glantz (@SammyGlantz) September 6, 2016
Grandal now has 27 home runs and 13 home runs since July 31. Furthermore, grandal’s indispensable team value was exhibited earlier this week when he went 4-5 and hit two homers including a go ahead grand slam against the Colorado Rockies:
Grandal’s Thursday night performance is arguably the best of this season next to his three home run game in July:
Suffice to say keeping Grandal healthy heading into the postseason is a huge plus for the Dodgers. A full strength Grandal last playoffs would have seen the club through the Mets in the NLDS. He could be the difference in this year’s NLDS against the Nationals. Credit to Dodgers’ management for keeping Grandal healthy, and sitting him out of games as late as last week to preserve one of the club’s most important offensive weapons for October.