Grandal’s Journey to Be a Full Time Catcher in 2015


It has been a long and at times, frustrating  last 13 months  for Padres’ catcher Yasmani Grandal. He has made  steady  progress since undergoing reconstructive  surgery on his right ACL, slowly building up his natural strength behind the plate. The work can be grueling  and tedious at times, but Grandal  is resilient as he continues he work with the goal of becoming the full-time catcher next season for this franchise and being that for years to come.

The Padres have made the move to try to ease Grandal back from this surgery and also keep his solid bat in the lineup by trying him out at first base.  It’s a move that made many Padres fans scratch their heads, especially when you know he has never played first base in his professional career before this point. Also, first base is such a key position within the infield that you would like to have a player who is experienced and knowledgeable enough to have that position locked down and be able to seal that side of the infield up.

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To his credit though, the catcher turned interim first baseman, has done an admirable job. In the 21 appearance he has made at first base, Grandal has committed three errors and sports a .980 fielding percentage, not numbers that will win him a gold glove, but once you will take from a man trying to still learning the nuisances of the position.

Not only is the defense of  a player affected when suffering a major injury to an ACL like Grandal did, but the offense can suffer just as much, if not more. That was the case for Grandal as he has struggled with his bat, posting only posting a .209 average with 11 home runs and 35 RBI. These numbers were despite him changing and making adjustments to his batting stance to help lessen the pressure on his surgically-repaired right knee.

Hard to expect him to really have any sort of big season with the bat coming off such a long and slow process of coming back from that injury. Give him the full season next year when he is expected to be 100% healthy, and then can judge him on his bat and overall ability to help the lineup offensively.

He will have to battle Rene Rivera, who has had a breakout year of sorts for himself, in spring training next year in order to have his dream come to reality of winning the full-time catching position. Should he not win that battle, the Padres’ organization will no question give him a long look as their first baseman. A position in which he now has some experience playing at, but if Grandal has his way, Opening Day 2015, he will be getting ready behind the plate to catch that first game of the new season.