Curtis Granderson started this season like he did most others, which is poorly. A notorious slow starter, Granderson had a particularly rough start in 2017. Since he also turned 36 years old earlier this year, there were some thoughts that it was time to hang up the old cleats.
How bad a start did Curtis get off to in April? Well, in 92 plate appearances that month his slash line was .128/.174/.221. Yikes! He had struck out in 22% of his at bats and walked in only 5% of them. The only two signs that he might have something left were his chase rate, which was normal, and an extremely low .154 BABIP. Though even that could have been written off as just a sign of how much weak contact he was making. He had only a 25% hard hit rate in April.
Mets manager Terry Collins continued to play Granderson regularly, ignoring the criticism of media and fans. That faith, or stubbornness, finally began to pay off. In May, Granderson hit to a slash line of .273/.363/.511. He continued to strike out at about 22% rate, but his walk rate more than doubled to almost 12%. He also saw his hard hit percentage rise to over 40%. It all added up, as his BABIP also rose to .328.
With the Mets floundering and falling out of the play-off race, Granderson continued his hot hitting. In June his slash line was .316/.442/.711. He reduced his strike out rate further to 18% and increased his walk rate to 19%. His hard hit percentage stayed at 40% and BABIP at .308. The hard hits included 8 home runs in June, giving him 12 for the season.
We’ve Seen This Before
I can’t explain it, but I have seen it too many times with him to be surprised. He starts slow, but then gets going. You know it’s coming. It may have taken a little longer this year, but he was confident it was coming. So was I.
Granderson is used to it too, as he told Nj.com:
I never get out of the gates very good for whatever reason. But there were no worries at all. I know a lot of people on the outside doubted things. It’s funny, because whenever you get off to a hot start, no one says, ‘This person is going to continue batting .500 for the rest of the season,’ but as soon as you get off to a slow start, everyone wants to know what’s wrong. You’ve got to look and see that things will even themselves out over the course of the season. It’s just baseball, I wish I knew more to it because I would try to bottle it up and do it. But just keep continuing to swing the bat. Sometimes you get some luck. Right now, I’m getting some things to go my way. That’s the cool thing about this game, you get a chance to do it again. Sure enough, things changed. There’s nothing I did that was different, I just got a better pitch to hit than the previous at-bat.
GM Sandy Alderson has said that the Mets will now listen to trade offers from other teams. Fans might see less trade deadline dealing than they wish. But Curtis Granderson will certainly be one of the names mentioned in talks. He’ll be a free agent this winter, so a contending team looking for a rental outfielder or DH with pop might be interested. As to next year, that might be up to Curtis who has admitted to thoughts that his baseball career is winding down.
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Photo by keithallison