San Diego Padres 40-man roster profile: Trent Grisham

Trent Grisham had a nice 2020 season with the San Diego Padres.

In November of last year, the San Diego Padres made what ended up being, at least for the 2020 season, a great trade for them when they acquired Zach Davies and Trent Grisham from the Milwaukee Brewers for Eric Lauer and Luis Urias. While the two players that the Brewers got struggled, Davies and Grisham were both great in San Diego. Here we take a look at Grisham.

Grisham, who turned 24 shortly after this past season ended, was drafted in the first round – and 15th overall – by the Brewers in the 2015 amateur draft. He was a top 100 prospect in 2016 but didn’t make his major league debut in 2019, getting into 51 games and batting .231 with six home runs while playing all three outfield positions with the Brewers.

However, he may be best remembered in 2019 for his critical eighth inning error in the NL Wild Card game against the eventual World Champion Washington Nationals while playing right field.

Grisham was great for the Padres in 2020 after the trade, as he played exclusively in center and won a Gold Glove for his efforts. He was worth seven defensive runs saved above average according to Baseball Reference, while he made just two errors, and his range factor was well above league average among outfielders.

Oh, and he hit pretty well too, posting an .808 OPS while hitting 10 home runs, stealing 10 bases, and drawing an impressive 31 walks in the pandemic-shortened season. Though his numbers were better overall out of the number nine spot, his speed and ability to get on base profiles well in the leadoff spot. He led off a game 29 times in 2020 and got on base 12 of those times.

In a previous post, we talked about how Wil Myers improved in 2020 over 2019 due in part to his ability to hit the ball in the air more. It appears that Grisham, with his speed, succeeded in 2020 largely the opposite way, by hitting the ball on the ground more: His fly ball rate in 2019 was 43.2%, while in 2020 that fell to 34.5%. By contrast, line drives and ground balls were up. In addition, Grisham swung at pitches outside the strike zone less often and made contact with them more often when he did swing.

When discussing some of the great young players that the Padres have, Grisham sometimes gets lost in the conversation, but he shouldn’t be. He showed a lot of promise both as a table-setter on offense and with the glove in center field in 2020, and there’s still room to improve. Hopefully he can keep getting better and be a impact player for the Padres for a long time to come.