San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal has been tearing it up at the plate in the month of July with a line of .293/.383/.488, with two homers, both coming in his last two games, improving on what has been a porous season for the 25 year old backstop thus far .214/.300/.388.
A lot of his recent success can be credited to a change in his batting stance that props him more upright to take of stress from his surgically repaired right knee, which was operated on after a gruesome play at the plate landed him with a torn ACL, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com
“We worked a ton, changing my whole batting stance and trying to get in a good spot so the knee doesn’t get any stress on it,” Grandal said to Brock. “Just standing up a little bit more, making sure my foot is down in a good spot and trying to stay on my back leg a little bit more. Usually those are things you do in the offseason, but we had to make the changes for health reasons.”
Like most managers, Padres skipper Bud Black is not a big fan of batters changing their swing midseason but due to the success Grandal has had since making the change he is on board according to Brock.
It’s hard for Black to not be on board with idea, considering he is probably willing to try anything to get his star-crossed catcher back on track. Grandal has been snake-bitten by a 50 game PED suspension and a torn ACL, once off suspension, which has muddled what looked to be a promising career.
Most will remember his debut at Coors Field in 2012 where he launched homers from both sides of the plate as his first two major league hits, and went on to bat .297 and post an impressive 2.7 WAR in his rookie season.
However since then Grandal has just shown glimpses of the potential that the switch hitting backstop had flashed when he was a highly touted prospect with the Cinncinati Reds, before being traded to San Diego for starting pitcher Mat Latos.
While the season may be a wash for the Padres, and it looks like Grandal will finish with below average numbers like most of his teammates, he has still flashed some pop, and thanks to his new batting stance he has been able to stay healthy all season, not making one trip to the disabled list thus far, something very important to him, “”The first day of Spring Training I said I wanted to be healthy throughout the season,” Grandal said to Brock. “So far, so good.”