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Monday, April 22, 2024

The Rockies’ Likeliest Commerce Chip

As lately as a number of months in the past, the Rockies’ 2022 swap of Raimel Tapia for Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk seemed like a no-win commerce for each events. Tapia lasted one season in Toronto earlier than being non-tendered and signing a minor league take care of the Crimson Sox. Grichuk’s offense didn’t tick up in his first 12 months at Coors Discipline, as many had anticipated it to. He posted his typical sub-.300 OBP and surprisingly had his lowest energy displaying (by measure of ISO) since his rookie marketing campaign. He was primarily a replacement-level participant in 2022.

The 2023 season has led to higher outcomes, nonetheless. Grichuk nonetheless isn’t hitting for a similar stage of energy he did throughout his Toronto days (5 homers, .172 ISO in 225 plate appearances), however he’s strolling at a career-best 7.6% and presently has a 20.9% strikeout fee that ties his career-low mark.

Grichuk has undoubtedly had some success on balls in play — his .368 BABIP is 70 factors north of his career-high — however his .300/.364/.473 batting line is spectacular all the identical. The 31-year-old’s 90.6 mph common exit velocity and 45.2% hard-hit fee are each nicely above-average and solely narrowly in need of his career-best ranges. His 24.2% line-drive fee is a private finest by a large margin.

Issues have gone significantly nicely for the veteran outfielder as of late. After a quick however dismal droop within the first couple months of June, Grichuk has bounced again with a .322/.375/.610 slash over his previous 64 journeys to the plate. At this time’s entrance places of work usually aren’t going to overreact to a brief scorching streak, however Grichuk’s current uptick in manufacturing is especially notable on condition that he’s slugged 4 of his 5 dwelling runs in that stretch. After posting only a 33.6% fly-ball fee via mid-June, he’s had a 44% fly-ball fee throughout this heater.

Whereas he’s having an undeniably productive season on the plate, Grichuk’s sport has ostensibly taken a step again in different areas. Defensive Runs Saved (-8) and Outs Above Common (-6) agree that that is among the many worst defensive seasons of his profession — if not the worst.

As a rookie, Grichuk ranked within the 91st percentile of massive leaguers by way of common dash velocity, per Statcast. It’s solely pure for a participant to decelerate as he ages, however Grichuk had nicely above-average velocity as lately as 2021 (76th percentile) and 2022 (68th percentile). He’s all the way down to the forty sixth percentile of MLB gamers in 2023 — the primary below-average season of his profession. His arm power stays above common, however Statcast now locations him in simply the fourth percentile of MLB outfielders by way of his outfield jumps.

Taken in totality, it’s a considerably restricted ability set. Grichuk can play all three outfield spots however has usually rated finest in proper subject. He’s hitting nicely in opposition to righties in 2023 (.295/.357/.439) and tattooing lefties (.313/.380/.537), however his profession physique of labor is below-average when he’s not holding the platoon benefit.

Grichuk is a stable sufficient position participant who’s been thrust into an on a regular basis position with the Rockies. The leads to ’23 have been respectable sufficient, however mixed along with his 2022 season he nonetheless appears to be like higher deployed in a extra restricted capability.

That’s probably what number of contenders will view him. Grichuk is a profession .264/.311/.498 hitter in opposition to southpaws who’s made positive aspects by way of his total plate self-discipline this season, albeit on the expense of some energy. His defensive rankings are down, however that’s partially resulting from being performed in heart subject, the place he’s now not a very good match, and in left subject, the place he hadn’t logged an innings since 2018 (when he performed six frames there).

A contending staff may set up Grichuk as a part-time DH and proper fielder whose major position is to step into the lineup and assist in opposition to southpaws. He can cowl heart subject in a pinch and has sufficient bat that he’s not a complete legal responsibility when wanted to play in opposition to righties.

There are many golf equipment in want of simply this sort of ability set. The Giants, Guardians, Twins and Brewers are all playoff hopefuls whose team-wide manufacturing in opposition to left-handed pitching ranks within the backside seven of MLB golf equipment (by measure of wRC+). The D-backs, who’ve an all-left-handed outfield, are solely barely higher, at twenty first.

In seasons previous, it’d’ve been truthful to wonder if the Rockies would transfer Grichuk in any respect. Frankly, based mostly on their historical past of hanging onto impending free brokers, it nonetheless is. Nonetheless, Rockies supervisor Bud Black stated on MLB Community Radio on SiriusXM simply at present that he believes his staff’s entrance workplace will likely be “extra energetic” than in seasons previous at this 12 months’s commerce deadline.

Grichuk is a pure candidate to be moved. He’s a free agent at season’s finish who’s incomes $9.333MM this season. The Blue Jays are on the hook for $4.333MM of that sum as a part of the commerce that introduced him to Denver within the first place, nonetheless, which means an buying staff would solely be chargeable for $2.02MM of the $5MM the Rockies are paying him (as of tomorrow). Colorado, after all, may pay down a few of that cash to extend his enchantment.

Grichuk isn’t going to be a contender’s marquee addition, however he can can deepen a staff’s bench and — based mostly on Black’s feedback at present — looks as if a participant with a very good probability to alter groups within the subsequent 14 days.

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