Padres: Trent Grisham quietly set himself up for a breakout 2021

Prior to the 2016 season, Baseball America ranked Trent Grisham as the 49th-best prospect in all of baseball. Since then, he’s lost the luster of a Top 100 talent – but someone forgot to tell him.

The San Diego Padres outfielder hit .251 last year, but really did a little bit of everything. In the shortened season, appearing in 59 games, the former first-rounder swiped 10 bags, hit a career-high 10 home runs and won the first Gold Glove of his career for his defensive work in center field.

Grisham led the Padres with 31 walks last year and when he gets on base, he fits the mold of that pesky outfielder who can cause damage with his legs. Per Statcast, the 24-year-old ranked in the top four percent of the league in terms of sprint speed last season. Of course, his foot speed translated into success in center field, where he placed in the 99th percentile in outs above average and the 89th in outfielder jump.

On a roster that has at least two legitimate MVP candidates in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., it’s easy to look past Grisham. The former Brewers prospect is all about putting in the work and getting the job done. His approach balances out the lineup well and he’s a defensive whiz. Really, there’s not much you don’t love about this guy once you familiarize yourself with his game.

Trent Grisham is yet another 20-20 threat on this Padres roster

Last season, we saw Grisham find a great deal of success batting ninth, almost as a second leadoff hitter before the lineup card turned over. He slashed .367/.486/.567 out of the nine hole – by far his most productive spot in the order.

This year, of course, he won’t have that same opportunity as the National League is set to revert back to a DH-less look in 2021. Still, having his speed even in the eight spot gives you the opportunity to get him on and potentially let him swipe a bag before having the pitcher move him over with a bunt.

Oh, and if you’re on the mound and you’re feeling frisky? He might just take you deep for good measure. We’re talking about a legitimate 20-20 candidate this year who ranked among the top quarter or so of hitters in terms of hard hit rate last year.

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I don’t know about all of you. But I’m very much here for a Trent Grisham breakout showing this season. If he can build on his strong performance last year, the Padres’ order will be deeper and more versatile than maybe any other in the league.