Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spring Preview: Left Field

Curtis Granderson

2009 Stats: .249/30/71

By signing Curtis Granderson, the Yankees added one of maybe three players in baseball who aren't complete douche bags. Douche baggery is generally the domain of the professional athlete, but Granderson's family seems to have kept him grounded (based on most articles I've read about the guy). This guy will be probably be having his fancy dinners at the Applebees on 7th Ave near Time Square. And while that Applebees is surprisingly expensive, it still gives you a sense of what kind of down to earth guy Granderson is.

Granderson was traded, supposedly, to play Center Field, but he'll probably be in Left come April. It doesn't matter. It wasn't so much his glove as it was his youth and speed that were coveted by the Yankees. Expect to see Granderson be sent by Girardi on a regular basis. Do not expect to see Granderson hitting second. There are at least two other guys on the team with higher OBP who would probably be better fits in the two-hole. That said, Girardi is fairly smart about setting up his line-up. And while he does change that line-up just about every day, I will accept wherever he decides to bat Granderson.

2010 Prediction:

Granderson will raise his batting average and hit for greater power in the New Yankee Stadium (do I still have to call it the 'New' Yankee Stadium?). In early July he will prank call Johnny Damon, pretending to be Brian Cashman, and tell Johnny that parting with him was the worst mistake he ever made, and that he wants him back. Johnny gets enthused only to have Granderson break character and break the news to him that this call was a prank. Johnny weeps. Three weeks later the Yankees trade Gardner for Damon. It is very awkward.

Little Known Granderson Fact:

Granderson has won the MVP award three times, but is so humble he called all the reporters who voted for him and asked them to give it to another player he felt could use the encouragement.


Fred Trigger said...

To say he will do well in Yankee Stadium is an understatement. If he can hit 30+ bombs at Comerica Park, then I am predicting he will hit at least 40 at Yankee Stadium, especially since right field is about 200 ft away. Although on another note--and I've brought this up before, I think--Nick Swisher only hit 1 HR at home last season, or something crazy like that.

Fred Trigger said...

aaaaaaaaaannnddd, I'm dumb. Swisher hit 8 HR on the road. But still, thats crazy, you would think he would hit more at home.

Fred Trigger said...

dammit, I did it again! I meant 8 HR at home.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

Swisher did seem to struggle to hit home runs at home. It was one of those odd Swisher related phenomena last season.

And, in fairness, the right field fence is 150 ft away. No more, no less.

Anonymous said...

You also forgot the fact that the stands are on wheels and they roll them closer when the Yankees are batting, at least according to opponents (in other words aaagh shut up, you're hitting for the same damn fences).

And I feel like Swisher had like, 1 HR at home until September. Then he had a two-HR game against the Rays where the second HR was a walk-off. He also had a HR in one of those meaningless games against the Royals after we'd clinched the division and HFA.

And Applebees is pretty gross. :( But I can't wait to hear Joe Buck go out of his way to make Curtis Granderson sound like a bad person now that he is a Yankee.

Rich Mahogany said...

Joe Buck will realize he has no dirt on Granderson, so he will say that Austin Jackson is an even nicer person than Granderson. Thus, by acquiring Granderson, the Yankees became a scummier team.

Regarding the dimensions of NYS, ESPN's park factor list pegs NYS as one of the LEAST hitter-friendly parks in baseball. It's easier to hit homers there than anywhere else, but overall offense suffers compares to an average park. Strange stuff.


Anonymous said...

Yep, I saw that before. It's pretty funny, especially considering all the early panic when pop-ups were basically flying out and Gammons was calling NYS "an embarrassment" and stuff. The home runs kind of calmed down and it suppresses (well, it suppressed last year) most other kinds of hits. Saying it's a hitters' park because of JUST the HRs is ignoring the whole for one part.

I dunno how much we can depend on one-year sample sizes, though. Apparently YS is less of a hitters' park than Oakland. I don't know if I believe that. But I'm willing to believe that Yankee Stadium isn't a hitters' park along the lines of Coors, which is what everyone was complaining about in like May.

Also, somehow I had no idea that they'd changed "Jacobs Field" to "Progressive Field." At least there's no more "Enron Field." lulz

Rich Mahogany said...

I saw an Astros game at Minute Maid Park soon after the name change from Enron Field. There is a train full of oranges that moves on a track when an Astro hits a home run. It is a boring way to celebrate a home run but it instilled me with a craving for citrus. Also I think it should be a spaceship full of oranges.

Anonymous, you're right that it will take more than one season to really know how NYS plays compared to other parks. I have to expect that the home runs will go down and other kinds of hits will go up over time. The homer numbers are crazy. It shouldn't be easier to hit homers at NYS than Coors.

Anonymous said...

Talking about Enron Field/Minute Maid Park/the Astros has made me want both orange juice and Andy Pettitte. Yum.

Anonymous said...

I have neither, though. :(

I should add that nothing irrationally annoys me more in sports than stupid home run celebrations. The Yankees might have spent like $40M on Carl Pavano, but at least we're not spending money on fireworks when someone hits a home run to make the score 13-3 instead of 10-3.

At least some fruit in a train is... creative.

Greatest moment ever at Minute Maid Park, Albert Pujols' HILARIOUSLY HUGE home run off of Lidge in the 2005 NLCS, y/y?

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

No, the greatest moment at Minute Maid Park was when Tropicana OJ fought Minute Maid OJ and the Tropicana won. The Astros have never recovered from the shock as an organization.

The one thing that is important about the number of home runs at NYS, is that part of it is the field (especially for lefties), but we also had a team with A-Rod, Teixeira, Matsui, Posada, Swisher, and Damon. That's a lot of guys with pop, not to mention about four guys who simply mash. Remember when we went to CitiField and everyone was talking about how hard it was to hit home runs there and we made it look easy? (That run-on is for you, Fred). You have a slugging team, in what isn't a huge field, there's going to be some home runs.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Phillies have no problems hitting HRs at Citi Field either. IIRC there's actually a part of Citi Field the Mets broadcasters refer to as "Utley's Corner," lulz.

Ignoring the corporate sponsorship, "Tropicana Field" is actually a nice name.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

Trop v. Minute Maid could be a subplot to any future Rays v. Astros interleage or World series.

Jon Roberts said...

Peter Gammons knows a thing or two about embarrassments. I thought it was funny to hear all of that moaning about the homeruns but the Peski Pole is a grand part of MLB history and that little league wall in left made Manny look like a competent outfielder.

Not to mention that other hr friendly parks had similar years and are fine now. I don't have the numbers or the inclination to find them, but I remember seeing graphics comparing it to Citizens and what ever the hell they call the ball park in Texas. It wasn't crazy out of line and as you pointed out this team can mash anywhere.

Any time Granderson lifts a fly ball to center or left Swisher should hit him with a pie loaded with ball bearings or something. He could hit Eleventy Billion homeruns to right.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the media would call a Rangers/Astros World Series, other than, seeing the current state of the clubs, the Extremely Unlikely To Happen, Ever Series.

In reference to Manny fielding, someone pleeeease find me a clip of Manny's amazing dive to cut off Damon from 2004 or 2005, allowing a guy to score on an inside-the-park HR. I've searched for it online for SO LONG and I can never find it. It was one of the greatest things I have ever seen in baseball, and they showed it on MLBN last night while talking about actual good LF plays and I almost shrieked in joy.

Jon Roberts said...

That dive is one the best baseball related things I have ever seen. I don't think MLB likes it much though. As far as I can tell it has been pulled from every online source, even MLB.com. That's pretty strange when you think about it, they seem to allow Jeter's "Flip" as well as the "Dive" into the stands. I don't whether its too embarrassing, or if they are making money selling blooper DVDs. I hope its the second. I try not to get caught up in all that MLB favors the Red Sox stuff.

The link to the pizza throw is here.

Fred Trigger said...

IIRC, Feway is the opposite of yankee stadium. Its great for hitting, but tough to hit HR's. As the saying goes: "The Wall giveth, and the wall taketh away." Plus it has a very deep center field, and outside of Pesky's pole, a very deep rightfield as well.