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The season that was: Randal Grichuk

A look at Randal’s 2018 season

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays picked up Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals for Dominic Leone and Conner Greene.

At the time we were pretty happy about the move. Our poll on the trade:

13% I love it

57% I like it

22% I’m Neutral

6% Dislike it

2% Hate it

If we redid the poll at the end of April, the numbers would have been far different. Of course, if we put one up now I think it would be 100% love it.

Randal was coming off a pretty average 2017 season, hitting .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs. Combined with good defense, that added up to a 1.4 fWAR.

The guys we sent away? Greene was a pretty good pitching prospect and Leone was a waiver pickup, who did a good job in our bullpen in 2017, putting up a 2.56 ERA in 70.1 relief innings.

How did they do this year? Greene split time between Double and Triple A. He had a 4.09 ERA in 40 games, 10 starts. In 88 innings he gave out 63 walks with 69 strikeouts. He’s going to have to figure out here the strikezone is, if he wants to have a major league career.

Leone had a 4.50 ERA in 24 relief innings with the Cardinals.


Standard Batting
124 462 424 60 104 32 1 25 61 3 2 27 122 .245 .301 .502 .803 5 8
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/13/2018.

Baseball Reference had him at a 2.2 WAR. FanGraphs at 2.1, giving him a value of $16.4 million to the Jays.

He had a wOBA of .340 and wRC+ of 115.

Compared to 2017, with the Cardinals, his walk rate was much the same (5.8, from 5.9) and strikeout rate was down (26.4%, from 30.1).

His line drive rate was down (18.4%, from 21.4), ground ball rate much the same (35.1%, from 35.9) and fly ball rate up (46.6%, from 42.7). Slightly fewer of his fly balls left the park (17.6%, from 18.3).

Hard contact rate was down (36.4%, from 40.2) and soft contact rate up (21.6%, from 18.1).

Randal’s BABIP was down a bit (.282, from .293).

He hit RHP (.237/.295/.505) and LHP (.263/.313/.496) much the same. He’s been slightly better vs. RHP in his career.

He hit better at home (.255/.306/.565) than on the road (.236/.295/.439).

Randal was pretty good with RISP (.262/.352/.534).

He was much better in the second half (.280/.326/.569) than the first half (.206/.273/.427).

Randal by month:

  • April: .106/.208/.227 with 2 home runs in 25 games.
  • May: On the DL.
  • June: .294/.341/.647 with 8 home runs in 25 games.
  • July: .222/.293/.444 with 4 home runs in 24 games.
  • August: .316/.356/.551 with 5 home runs in 26 games.
  • September: .247/.286/.576 with 6 home runs in 24 games.

As it turned out, maybe his terrible April and the injury in May was a good thing. He found he needed to make adjustments and he had time to work on them without the pressure of having to at every day.

From June 1 to the end of the season he hit .271/.319/.553.

Defense? It looked pretty good to me. FanGraphs has him at a 4.9 UZR/150 in right field. He had 1 error and 4 assists in right.

He played 212.1 innings in center, and UZR wasn’t impressed, -14.7/150. Likely not enough innings for a good reading. I thought he looked ok in center.

FanGraphs has him at -0.4 runs on the bases. I thought he looked fast enough out there, but it doesn’t seem that he’s using his speed well on the bases.

Where Randal hit in the order:

  • 1st: 15 times.
  • 2nd: 6 times.
  • 3rd: 4 times.
  • 4th: 23 times.
  • 5th: 14 times.
  • 6th: 10 times.
  • 7th: 26 times.
  • 8th: 13 times.

His longest hitting streak was 6 games. Longest on base streak 10 games. Most games without a home run was 11 games.

The team was 52-59 in game he started.

His favorite team to play? Randal hit .355/.394/.742 with 5 home runs and 9 doubles in 17 games against the Orioles.

Least favorite? He hit .143/.133/.143 in 15 at bats vs. the Rangers.

I’m thinking it is going to turn out to be a great trade for the Jays. It’s possible that Greene figures out the strikezone and but he’ll be 24 next April, he’s going to have to do it soon.

I’d really be ok with trading Pillar (especially if we could get a pitcher for him) and trying Grichuk in center for a season. If it turns out that Randal is as bad in center as UZR suggests he was this year, then Anthony Alford can take the spot.

Randal is arbitration eligible after next season, and won’t be a free agent until 2021. If he was another season like this one, I’d be all for locking him in for a few years.

It would be nice if he would take a walk more than once a week (though compared to Pillar he walks a fair bit. Pillar’s walk rate was 3.3% this year, Grichuk 5.8%.

He is 27 now, and should be coming on his prime seasons. If he can avoid the crappy month he had last year, and avoid injuries, it isn’t hard to imagine he could have an All-Star season in the next few.

He seems a very likable guy, not that it means all that much, but it is very to cheer for him.

It wasn’t hard to find Grichuk’s play of the season. I’m sure you all remember it: