FanPost

Is it Panic Blanket Time for Curtis?

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via i.imgur.com

2014 is off to a typical Mets start. Kind of like Forrest Gump's infamous box of chocolates.

  • There was getting swept in the Opening Series and looking like a club with a 70 win bullpen.
  • Then there was winning the next two series looking like a club with a 100 win bullpen.
  • Followed by a road sweep that capped a successful 6-3 first road trip of the season.
  • And of course the current two game skein at the hands of the dreaded Bravos.

But through it all there have been two constants. Curtis Granderson has looked lost. And Curtis Granderson remains a great guy.

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via i.imgur.com


via i.imgur.com

So is it time to borrow the dog's panic blanket and buy more feed for the boo birds?

I don't know. But I do know how to fit some numbers into a table to see if we can glean any insight into what he has to do to help the club on the field as much as he may off the field.

First let's compare his current performance with last season and his career norms.

k-rate

bb-rate

BABIP

wRC+

WAR

WAR/150

SLG

2013

28.2%

11%

.302

97

1.4

3.4

.407

Career

23.2%

10.2%

.304

117

33.1

4.1

.485

2014

29.2%

12.3%

.189

49

-0.1

-0.9

.263

Obviously it'd be a lot nicer to get Curtis Granderson's career average production rather than his 2013 production. But even in 2013 a healthy Curtis Granderson producing at the same rate he did during his truncated season would have pro-rated out to 3.4 WAR! Maybe we could learn to live with that 2013 production provided he could stay on the field.

The biggest culprit is his BABIP. His higher k-rate from 2013 is probably here to stay, his walk rate is actually improving a skosh but his BABIP is well over 100 points lower than either his 2013 or career rates. Why? Well he's hitting more ground balls and infield pop ups while lacing fewer line drives.

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

2013

22.5%

33.8%

43.7%

9.7%

Career

20.6%

35.2%

44.2%

7.9%

2014

15.8%

39.5%

39.5%

17.6%

That does not appear encouraging.

Turning line drives into ground balls is no way to earn $15m. And popping out to the infield at twice the rate you have previously is well . . . I don't want to think about it.

Both are clear signs of a declining hit tool. Is age catching up to Curtis?

Could be but we are still in 4S territory. Sadly I don't think there's a pill to cure Small Sample Size Syndrome. Those that believe it's too early to panic might consider staying away from the AA comments for a while.

But let's say Pfizer, Glaxo or some other pharmaceutical behemoth does invent a magic pill that gives April baseball fans perspective? What do the numbers suggest about how the nervous among us will be feeling in September?

Well let's tweak Granderson's batted ball composition just a little bit. By a little bit I mean changing just one ground out and one infield pop out into line drives. Here's how his adjusted 2014 would compare to his 2013 and career lines.

LD%

GB%

FB%

IFFB%

2013

22.5%

33.8%

43.7%

9.7%

Career

20.6%

35.2%

44.2%

7.9%

2014

21.0%

36.8%

42.1%

5.2%

Yes. I did just drag you through all this to claim what I could have done in seven words: "It's extremely small sample size. Calm down."

Bottom line is it's entirely possible that Granderson may be losing his hit tool but 38 battled balls doesn't prove anything. What we should hope for is good health from Granderson. Even the 2013 version Curtis Granderson is a very valuable 3.4 fWAR player if he could have stayed on the field for 150 games.

I'll also observe that like life, GM-ing is about choices. Last season's pool of OFers didn't have much of a "middle class." Who would have been a better choice?

We were never going to pay Choo or Ellsbury money. I'll suggest that's a good thing. As big a risk as Granderson is, his 4/$60m pales in comparison to those deals.

Carlos Beltran signed for 3/$45m. But his comments sure made me conclude that it would have taken the same 4/$60m deal we gave to Granderson to pry Carlos away from the 3/$45m he got from the Yanks. I recall many off-season commenters wanted Carlos but on a one or two year deal. That proved completely unrealistic. Would signing a guy that's a better player but a full 4 years older than Grandy have been a better choice?

How about Nelson Cruz? He's wRC+ing at a robust 128 but his poor defense make him a negative fWAR player with the same -0.1 rating that Granderson has. What's more likely - that Cruz learns how to play defense or Granderson's hitting moves closer to past performance? Cruz was only 1/$8m but I'd be horrified watching him try to patrol Citi Field's massive outfield expanse.

So we're left with where we started . . . 2013 that is. Marlon Byrd. He was signed for 2 years/$16m by the Phils. Again most pro-Byrd commenters I recall wanted him for a single year - maybe I'm wrong. I do know upon his signing there was a substantial amount of lol-Amaro chatter. But moving past that how's he doing? His 71 wRC+ is a little over half the 136 he posted in 2013. Of course SSS applies to him as well. But it's worth noting that his 71 wRC+ is despite a .326 BABIP that's right in line with his career average. The difference? His SLG is down from .511 to .364 and his fWAR is 0.0.

Matt Joyce is off to a scorching hot start based on an unsustainable .433 BABIP but we don't really know if that deal for Ike Davis was on the table or not. If it was I agree with those that would have pulled the trigger.

2014/2013 BABIP

2014/2013 wRC+

2014/2013 fWAR/150

Contract

Matt Joyce

.433/.251

200/112

1.8/6.2

1/$3.7m

Marlon Byrd

.326/.353

71/136

4.1/0.0

2/$16m

Nelson Cruz

.295/.295

128/122

-1.0/2.1

1/$8m

Curtis Granderson

.189/.302

49/97

-0.9/3.4

4/$60m

So I'll continue to not only root for Grandy but believe this is just a slow start. Is four years too long? Very likely it is. But we need someone to play the outfield and he's a great guy that I'll find easy to pull for and enjoy whenever he does make a contribution.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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