Yasmani Grandal was having a great season until he got injured in 2015, so for 2016, he mixed things up and got injured, then had a great season. Grandal had a brutal beginning to his campaign, ending the month of June hitting .179/.292/.347 after playing through the pain of forearm, wrist, and foot injuries. And then, he got better. From July 1 to the end of the season he hit .267/.376/.581 with 20 homers, superb numbers for a catcher. At his best, Grandal controls the strike zone like few hitters and simply crushes the ball when he makes contact, though he's still whiff-prone with a 22.9 percent career strikeout rate. There's little doubt that Grandal is an excellent player with rare value in OBP leagues when healthy, the problem is he's not healthy very often and will frequently play through injuries, even if they hurt his numbers. He enters 2017 as the clear starter in L.A. at catcher, with only Austin Barnes behind him to get an occasional start against lefties.
Manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that Grandal will be the Dodgers' primary starting catcher against both lefties and righties, as opposed to platooning with another player Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 27 home runs, the Dodgers will be hoping Grandal can continue to establish himself as an all-star-caliber catcher in his third full season with the team. The 28-year-old recently avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $5.5 million deal this offseason. If he can stay healthy, Grandal could be in for a stellar offensive season.
Grandal and the Dodgers avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.5 million deal, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Despite playing hurt for much of the year, Grandal still managed to post a career-high .477 slugging percentage. He hit at an elite level when healthy, slashing .287/.410/.622 in the months of June and July, but the problem with him going forward is that he often isn't healthy. That aside, he remains a power bat with top pitch-framing skills behind the plate, so he'll get a pay raise of almost $3 million in his second round of arbitration.
Grandal is not in the lineup Thursday for the Dodgers' Game 5 NLCS tilt with the Cubs. Grandal has acted as the primary catcher for Los Angeles during the postseason, but given his poor .111 batting line during the playoffs, the Dodgers will give him the night off. Carlos Ruiz will slot into the lineup behind the plate in his stead.
Grandal is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Giants. Grandal will come off the bench for the second straight day with the Dodgers facing another left-hander. Carlos Ruiz will receive another start behind the plate Friday night.
Grandal is not listed in Thursday's starting lineup against the Padres, Eric Stephen of True Blue LA reports. Carlos Ruiz is suiting up in his place as the talented young catcher is likely just receiving a break before the weekend series. Look for him again Friday.