Randal Grichuk's strong 2015 campaign had him in a very favorable position heading into 2016, with an everyday job, plus power and what many believed to be an average hit tool. However, things went south in a hurry for the 25-year-old, as he came out of the gate with just a .206 batting average and strikeouts in a quarter of his plate appearances through mid-June. This led the Cardinals to shock everyone and send him back to the minors on two occasions during the summer. His performance vastly improved after the second demotion, as he slashed .275/.303/.579 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI, although it came with an unsustainably-high 34.1 percent strikeout rate. He will open the season as the everyday left fielder, although he showed in 2016 that he can be incredibly streaky, so he should be treated as a volatile asset. Grichuk will need to make more consistent contact in order to stay in manager Mike Matheny's good graces.
Grichuk went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run, three RBI and two runs during the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against Toronto. Grichuk has developed a flare for the dramatic as evidenced by Thursday's game-extending home run. He's also currently locked in at the dish with a six-game hitting streak. During that span, he's recorded eight runs, five extra-base hits, four RBI and a .409/.480/.727 slash line. Grichuk's fantasy ceiling is high, but he's still got a few kinks in his game to iron out. Specifically, he needs to improve on his 29.3 strikeout percentage and inability to make consistent contact in order to be a less volatile and streaky asset.
Grichuk went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a run in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Brewers. The struggling outfielder enjoyed his best outing of the season, and he's now 4-for-8 with three doubles, an RBI and two runs over his last two games. Grichuk's sluggish start has basically been a microcosm of the overall struggles of the Cardinals' offense, but his last two games may be a sign that he is starting to make more impactful contact.
Grichuk went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and run in Monday's 2-1 victory over the Pirates. The slugging outfielder has been scuffling at the plate, but was able to generate his first multi-hit game since Opening Night on Monday. Grichuk also turned in a couple of nice defensive plays and snapped the 0-for-8 mini-slump that had encompassed his last two games. His production vaulted his average back up over the Mendoza Line to .213, although like many of his teammates, his numbers remain considerably down across the board.
Grichuk is out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Nationals. Manager Mike Matheny wanted to load up his lineup with left-handed hitters to counter ace Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, so Grichuk will bow out of the lineup as Matt Adams starts in left field. Grichuk connected on his second homer of the season Tuesday, but has mostly been in an extended funk since the season opener, going a combined 4-for-27 at the plate over his last seven games.
Grichuk went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Tuesday's 8-3 loss to the Nationals. Grichuk drove a Gio Gonzalez offering 412 feet to right center for one of the few bright spots on the night for the Cardinals. It was the 25-year-old outfielder's second homer of the season, but like many of his teammates, he continues to struggle overall at the dish. Even factoring in Wednesday's blast, Grichuk is hitting just .194 and has struck out 11 times in 31 at-bats thus far in 2017.