Yasmani Grandal arrived in Los Angeles under immense expectations as he was largely viewed as the main piece the Dodgers received from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Tim Federowicz when in reality he was part of a package that included Zach Eflin and Joe Wieland in the trade.
Eflin was used in a trade to land Jimmy Rollins and Wieland has spent the season as part of the rotation in Triple-A Oklahoma City with one spot start for the Dodgers to his name. While plenty of attention was placed on Grandal’s ability to frame pitches, there was also the assumption he would provide offense from the catcher’s spot, which the Dodgers were devoid of last season.
However, as Grandal worked on fitting in with his new teammates, he slumped through the first month of the season, batting .189/.317/.283 with just one home run, two RBIs, 13 strikeouts and 10 walks in 63 plate appearances over 17 games (15 starts).
Coming off a 4-for-4 day with two home runs and eight RBIs in the Dodgers’ rout of the Milwaukee Brewers, Grandal credited manager Don Mattingly for some of his success, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
You’re on a new team, and you just want to do good, you want to belong here and turn it around at some point,” Grandal said. “[Mattingly] just said, you know the numbers will be there. Just relax and play.”
Meanwhile Mattingly likened Grandal’s approach at the plate to Joc Pederson, who presents for an interesting case study as the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter:
Yaz has got a really good eye, and he sees the ball good,” said Mattingly. “He’s got to use that and attack. He’s a little like Joc. He’s got to use the whole field.”
Grandal is currently in the midst of a five-game hitting streak that includes three multi-hit games and a walk-off home run. He’s now batting .301/.414/.534, significantly increasing his averages from the .179/.313/.258 slashline he entered May with.
While there’s been a connection between Grandal cutting off his long hair that hung out from under his helmet and newfound success at the plate, he’s also healthy — free from an inflamed AC joint (back of his shoulder) that he said affected his swing.
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