It’s amazing to me that people keep finding reasons to criticize Randal Grichuk’s play.
For some reason, everything he does is the result of smoke and mirrors in the eyes of some folks. It’s luck over talent.
Grichuk as continually dismissed as a player who isn’t a long-term starter. He’s the latest version of John Rodriguez, Joe MccEwing or Stubby Clapp. A flash in the pan.
Are we watching the same player?
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Grichuk leads St. Louis regulars in batting average (.292), slugging percentage (.581) and on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (.922). He leads the team in triples, he’s third in homers despite being seventh in at-bats and is tied for fourth in doubles.
What more do people want from him?
Sure Grichuk strikes out a lot. But he’s 23 years old and he has 122 major league games under his belt. He’s still learning consistency and refining his swing.
Some folks are in a lather because they don’t like some of Grichuk’s peripheral stats. But haven’t they seen enough flashes of his brilliance to conclude he’s on the upswing?
Anyone whose seen him take batting practice knows he’s only scratched the surface of his power potential. He can run. He’s a capable centerfielder and he has a good arm.
Still, I read articles that project Stephen Piscotty - who has 14 MLB games under his belt - as a starter for the Cardinals in 2016 while panning Grichuk as a guy who hasn’t proved he can cut it in big league ball. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read a blog that compared him negatively to Colby Rasmus.
Basically, Grichuk has all the natural talent you can’t teach: a quick bat, ample power, speed... But, unlike Rasmus, he’s eager to play, works hard, fits in well with the team and he’s willing to learn.
I shudder to think about where the Cardinals offense would be without the young flychaser.
Unfortunately, it seems that the need to put Grichuk in the spotlight last year when he proved to be a more playoff-ready player that much-hyped prospect Oscar Taveras has tainted the way some fans look at him. Predictably, Grichuk scuffled against some of the best pitching in the world. But, to his credit, he has always bounced back after every blow he’s received.
I look forward to watching Grichuk continue to develop in centerfield, giving the Redbirds an affordable, productive player in an era starved for power hitting. That will allow the team to spend money in other places so it can stay on top for years to come.