Exit Interview 2017: Randal Grichuk

For the sixth straight year, we’re taking a look back at everyone that played for the St. Louis Cardinals this season.  Whether they were a major contributor or a bit player, here all year or for just a little while, we’ll look at their season and talk about what went right and what went wrong.  The stat line listed is just their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers in the discussion may be for the entire year.  Imagine this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a little review on their way home for the winter.  As always when you see incredible artistry in the blogs, all credit for the header work goes to @cardinalsgifs.

Player: Randal Grichuk

Season stats: 122 G, 442 PA, 53 R, 25 2B, 3 3B, 22 HR, 59 RBI, 6 SB, 26 BB, 133 K, .238/.285/.473, 95 OPS+, 1.0 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 10, Goat 8

Overall grade: C

Positives: Went on a tear in mid-August, hitting .349 with two homers in 13 games….won the Opening Night game with a eighth-inning homer and a walkoff single….hit 13 of his homers at Busch….hit .265 in the second half….hit .267 leading off an inning….had a 1.066 OPS on a 1-0 count….had a .340/.469/.650 line when he got ahead in the count….hit .263 with nine homers against relievers….had an .826 OPS against power pitchers….hit .356 with six home runs against the Cubs….hit six homers in 14 games during a Memphis stint.

Negatives: Averaged more than a strikeout a game for the third straight year….his .238 average was a career low….required another trip to Memphis to try to straighten him out….hit .204 against lefthanders….hit .202 in May….had a .507 OPS with two strikes….hit .181 when the pitcher was ahead….with runners in scoring position, hit .235….had a .188 average in high-leverage situations….hit .219 against starters…hit .218 in night games.

Overview: Ah, Randal Grichuk.  We continue to think that Grichuk should be better than he is.  The talent seems to be there, the plate discipline, not so much.  There’s no doubt he can cover ground in the outfield and the power is there (almost 30 homers between the bigs and Memphis) but overall there’s something lacking.  A lot of strikeouts and not much solid contact means the batting averages sit in the .240s or so.  While batting average isn’t really a great measure, of course, there’s no walks to offset that to make for a higher OBP.  Grichuk almost had as many walks as he did homers.  Unless he winds up challenging Mark McGwire‘s team record, that’s not a great stat to see.  There’s enough there that you can understand why he keeps playing even as he frustrates the heck out of us when he does play.

Outlook: We know the Cardinals are looking for an impact bat and it’s likely to come in the form of an outfielder.  Even without that, you look at the number of outfielders this club has for that one spot (assuming Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham are in line for the other two) and the writing would seem to be on the wall.  Grichuk sees it as well, noting after the season that he doesn’t see himself in the future plans of the club.  It would seem that Grichuk is going to be part of whatever deal that gets done, assuming another team wants to take on that power and see if they can work to refine it.  The odds are very long he’ll be a Cardinal next year, though.  It’s frustrating to feel that there’s more there that never has really be developed, but that’s the case of a lot of players, right?

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