With all the offseason changes the Los Angeles Dodgers underwent, the results thus far suggest they were the correct decisions. The Dodgers’ biggest move was packing Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres for a deal centered around Yasmani Grandal.
After watching multiple catchers struggle at the plate last season, Grandal represented a significant offensive upgrade and also brought with him superior framing skills, which sat well with the retooled Dodgers’ front office.
In similar fashion to Kemp’s time in Los Angeles, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Grandal in San Diego. The Cuban native recently addressed the uphill battle and adversity he faced, via Barry Bloom of MLB.com:
There was so much negativity going around when I got hurt.” Grandal stated. “Was I 100 percent? Not really, but I’m an athlete and I like to compete. When they tell me I’m not going to do something, I like to prove them wrong.”
Grandal was slowed early by a nagging shoulder injury that impacted his swing and thus production. He’s since recovered and spoke highly of being part of the Dodgers organization:
It’s new scenery,” he said. “Ever since I’ve come here, they’ve done everything in their power to make me feel welcome. I’ve been in two organizations before, but by far this is the best of all those organizations.”
Grandal broke out this season on May 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers when he hit two home runs and collected eight RBIs. The 26-year-old backstop is batting .273/.386/.500, with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs in 63 games played. Grandal’s 150 wRC+ leads all catchers who have a minimum of 230 plate appearances.