When the Chicago White Sox signed veteran catcher Yasmani Grandal to a $73M contract, they were expecting to get a premier backstop. As odd as his stat sheet is in 2021, there may not be a word that describes his play on the south side.
Grandal is slashing .154/.400/.433 in 39 games, a slash line that has made its way around the baseball community as an odd set of numbers, but a set that has allowed the club's number one catcher to contribute despite not tearing the cover off of the ball. When the 32-year-old came to Chicago, fans heard so much about his catching ability and his discipline at the plate. That great eye has helped him draw 44 walks so far in 2021. A total that exceeds his strikeout number of 40. The walk total comes with no intentional passes and was the sole reason that Grandal was able to help the Sox win games at the beginning of the year.
The month of June, although young, has seen a spark in Grandal's offense. In just a pair of games, he has gone 3-for-5 with three home runs, a pair of walks, and no punchouts. The hot start to the summer month raised his batting average 23 points from .131 on May 31. The former Miami Hurricane is known for making solid contact and putting balls in play, but of his 16 hits in 2021, nine of them have left the ballpark for a trip around the bases. Crowds at Guaranteed Rate Field have seen a few clutch bombs from him over the weekend, showing that regardless of a slump, he has the ability to change a game with one swing.
The criticism of Grandal has quieted some at the dish, but his play behind it has yet to see the microscope lifted. Fans have groaned countless times this season when Grandal gets flagged for catcher's interference. Speculations as to why he finds himself in those situations continue, but supporters should feel at ease with the understanding that solving catching problems is far easier than solving ones involving the bat.
The White Sox have managed to carry a record of 35-23 with no Eloy Jimenez or Luis Robert, other injuries here and there, and Grandal's less-than-average offensive production. The aforementioned start to June seems to be a sign that as the weather continues to heat up on the south side, so will the bat of Yasmani Grandal.
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