(Editor’s note: Perhaps due to Doug’s vacation, he seemed to miss the fact that Sierra went in the Marcell Ozuna deal. We are sorry for the error.)
Hope everybody had a good holiday break!
Like everybody else, I was excited by the trade to acquire Ozuna.
I will miss Stephen Piscotty, as I think he’s a prime bounce back candidate next season.
But an outfield consisting of Tommy Pham, Ozuna and Dexter Fowler has the potential to be very, very good.
My question is what happens after those three? Who’s the primary fourth outfielder?
I’m afraid it’s going to be Randal Grichuk.
While Grichuk is admittedly still young at 25, I think we have two younger guys who could use the AB’s: Harrison Bader and Magnueris Sierra.
Grichuk did hit 22 homers last year, but he also struck out 133 times in 442 plate appearances. I realize strikeouts are up overall as more players try to hit the ball from the USA to Japan every AB, but that’s still a lot of strikeouts. His average was also low, at .238, along with a poor OBP of .285.
My concern is since Grichuk is the known commodity, he’ll become Matheny’s “guy” and swallow up all the AB’s that could go to the kids, who I think may have higher upside than Grichuk.
Bader, for example, did well in AAA last year. He hit .285 with a .347 OBP, and hit 20 homers. He did struggle in a big league cameo last year, hitting .235 in 85 AB’s, but that is a small sample size and you shouldn’t read too much into it.
The same can be said of Sierra, only from the other end of the spectrum. While Bader needs more AB’s to show he’s the hitter he was in the minors, Sierra needs more AB’s to prove what he did in his cameo was legit. In 60 AB’s, Sierra hit .317 with a .359 OBP, not bad for a 21 year old. He only hit .269 in AA though, so he needs more AB’s to prove that wasn’t just a small sample size fluke.
So will the kids get the AB’s they need? We’ll see. It’s important to note that sometimes Matheny does in fact go with the kids. Paul DeJong, for example, got his chance last year and made the most of it. I hope they two young outfielders do, as I don’t view Grichuk as the long term solution here. I think he’s more valuable as trade bait at this point.
As always, thanks for reading.