Yasmani Grandal is having a weird fucking year. He started the got-damned season getting more catcher’s interferences than entire teams had in 2020. ALLEGEDLY related to a new one kneed catching stance.
His batting average looks like Chorizy’s blood alcohol level on a Sunday morning before we start the Soak (.132 at time of this post). Mostly lead by him pounding the ball into the ground and running slower than Gheorghe Muresan on a fast break. Not to mention, he’s really not hitting for much power. Criticisms for him to take the bat off his shoulder more have been both fair and frustrating.
However, he’s still getting on base a ton. So much so that, I was inspired to make this meme and gift it to Jordan Lazowski to defend Grandal’s odd, but productive season, so far (.387 OBP as of this morning).
Sometimes the term OBP (On-Base Percentage) gets a bad name. People associate it too much with Moneyball and Billy Beane changing the game that they loved back when they were kids. The truth is, teams always have tried to gain an edge and OBP isn’t some new fangle tactic. Earl Weaver liked walks and 3 run homers and so should you. Just think about OBP as “not making an out” % and you won’t feel so adverse to it.
Yasmani (Yas-Money) Grandal is walking 29.5% of the time
As of this morning (I’m groggy, but the coffee is helping), Yasmani Grandal is walking in A WHOPPING 29.5% of his plate appearances. What does that mean exactly? Well, let’s take a look at the amount of hitters who walked at least 20% of the time in all seasons going back to 2008. Now, normally for something like this, we’d assume reviewing “Qualified” hitters. What does it mean to be “Qualified“? It means that you must average 3.1 plate appearances per team game. Now in a normal year that’s about 500 PA, however, Grandal is a catcher and he’s not likely to hit that threshold. I mean, it’s possible, but not likely. Not to mention 2020 was weird and I want to include that season as well, so I decided on ~2.5 plate appearances per team game. That should allow a handful of extra hitters into the convo, but who gives a fuck. We are still talking about several hundred plate appearances in a normal season and for any rate stat, that’s still a lot.
Yasmani’s walking peers
Two clear observations for me. #1 – 2021 is a weird year so far. #2 – It is extremely difficult to post a 20% or higher walk rate in this era of baseball. Looking at the list, you are looking at some pretty fucking good hitters in their primes getting a free pass a fifth of the time or more. Even with this list, nobody is even fucking close to what Yasmani is doing in 2021. He’d have to bat 50 times in a row without a walk to get down into the ~20% range. Which is absolutely fucking wild. In Little League, we’d call that player a “LOOKER”, but in the majors this is basically some impossible shit.
I bet you are wondering why I chose an uncomfortable 14 year bound instead of something a little more rounded. Was it because 2008 was the last White Sox division title. NOPE! It’s because there is legitimately only one walking comp that I can even fucking think of that matches up with our guy Yas-Money. You know what’s coming.
You remember Barry Bonds, right? Basically the greatest hitter of our generation. Probably the greatest hitter of all-time. Spare me the fucking drug talk, alright. We’re all looking for an edge and those fucking greenies from yesteryear didn’t take themselfs. *Swigs more coffee before writing the rest*
Below is the table from 2000-2007, to round this off to the turn of the century and it’s both amazing and hilarious.
The Bonds shit is absolutely incredible, but who in their right mind is walking Morgan Ensberg that much? I know he had a good year and all, but that’s looney tunes. Also, I almost left Jason Giambi off the list on purpose so as not to give White Sox fans PTSD for the MVP he stole from Big Frank. In the interest of completeness, I included them and the usually nakedBrian Giles.
Other than these gargantuan walk rates, Bonds and Grandal are basically nothing alike. Bonds was pushing and then exceeding 40 years old when he was making his run of elite not making an out-ness and was basically breaking the league. Grandal is 32, a moderately above league average hitter this season that when he is swinging the bat is chopping the ball into the turf about half the time. Bonds was completing a trek of the greatest hitting seasons in history and getting intentionally walked with runners in the way on the regular. I am not sure if Grandal has been intentionally walked all season. Bonds was breaking the all-time home run record. Grandal is just trying to stave off comparisons of the ghost of James McCann. This is weird.
What Yasmani Grandal is doing is extremely rare, fairly valuable and somewhat confounding. I hope he keeps it up, because I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple tree White Sox 2021 seasons in the record books, IN A GOOD WAY!
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