2015 All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal is the newest member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Late Wednesday night, phones of Brewer and MLB fans were aglow with the news of Grandal agreeing to a one year, $18.25 million dollar contract. I know what you are thinking, “Don’t you mean ‘Yasmani Passedball?’” It’s hard not to remember the rough days behind the dish for Grandal in the 2018 NLCS, but I am asking you to take a deep breath, let the negativity leave your body, and keep an open mind regarding the former La La Land backstop because I had to do the exact same thing initially.
True to his less than spectacular moniker, Grandal has accumulated 64 passed balls giving him an roughly 16 passed balls per 162 games. Despite the issue of passed balls, Grandal has proved to be a plus defender over his seven years in the MLB. He has posted a career fielding percentage of .994 as well as finishing second in WAR among catchers in 2018 and first among catchers in runs saved with 39 over the last three seasons. Yaz has also shown ability at first base where he has appeared in 50 games. His versatility could prove to be a major key in a Craig Counsell led squadron which emphasizes essentially “positionless” baseball.
The switch hitting, former Miami Hurricane has built a career on finding his way onto the basepaths. In his seven seasons, he has posted a modest .240 batting average, but has an solid OPS of .782 including an OBP of .341. This is large in part to a 13% walk rate over 2660 plate appearances. He has also mashed 113 home runs along with 339 RBI. Grandal does most of his damage against right handed pitchers in 2018 with 20 home runs and a line of .252/.351/.492 totaling to an OPS of an impressive .844. He has not, however, hit well at all in the playoffs, which is a major strike against him with the Brewers positioning themselves for a deep run. Yaz has only three postseason extra base hits, slashed .107/.264/.200 with a .464 OPS, and struck out 35 times in 75 plate appearances.
Love or hate the move, this shows Brewer fans that the pocketbook is open and there is an emphasis of winning right now. Be on the look for more moves as the hot stove continues to heat up.