Today marks the one year anniversary of Curtis Grandersonâ€™s work with Kevin Long in Kansas City, which has been well documented thanks to Grandersonâ€™s MVP-caliber 2011 season.Â When you really look at the numbers though, you realize how remarkable of a transformation Curtis has made in just one yearsâ€™ time.
Curtis has admitted â€śconsistencyâ€ť is the biggest factor to his success this season.Â The numbers back him up:
Curtis Granderson 2011 Splits: (BA/OBP/SLG)
Home (60 games):Â .277/.362/.595 – 18 HRâ€™s
Road (54 games):Â Â Â .273/.371/.569 – 14 HRâ€™s
vRHP (297 ABs):Â Â Â Â Â Â .276/.375/.579 – 21 HRâ€™s
vLHP (132 ABs):Â Â Â Â Â Â Â .273/.347/.591 – 11 HRâ€™s
Notice anything?Â THEY ARE THE SAME!Â For a guy like Grandersonâ€”a lefty pull-hitter who plays in a ballpark that escorts pop-ups to the right field seatsâ€”to have virtually identical home/road splits is significant.Â Just by comparisonâ€¦
Mark Teixeira 2011 Splits:
Home (61 games):Â Â Â Â Â .249/.356/.548 – 20 HRâ€™s
Road (54 games):Â Â Â Â Â Â .244/.324/.470 – 12 HRâ€™s
Furthermore, Granderson has drastically improved his play versus left-handed pitchers.Â His 11 home runs against lefties lead all of MLB, for all hittersâ€”left and right.Â He is now a complete player, having the best season of his career while putting himself in elite company.
Granderson has played, ironically enough, 162 regular season games since August 12 of last year.Â Over that time he has 46 home runs and 127 RBIâ€™s.Â (His current projections for 2011 are 45 home runs and 130 RBIâ€™s.)Â If Granderson meets these projections, he would have given the Yankees a season and a quarter of elite, superstar, play.
If Granderson were to reach 45/130 this season, he would have done something that only a handful of players have done since 2006.Â There are six players who have reached these marks in the same season since â€™06, and all six finished in the top 5 of MVP voting for their league.Â (Bolded year denotes MVP):
-Ryan Howard (â€™06, â€™08 & â€™09)
-Albert Pujols (â€™06 & â€™09)
-David Ortiz (â€™06)
-Lance Berkman (â€™06)
-Alex Rodriguez (â€™07)
-Prince Fielder (â€™09)
Of these players, only A-Rod plays a position other than first base or DH, and none play a position as important as center field.Â Additionally, nobody on this list has stolen 30 bases (Granderson is on pace for 31).
The question is:Â Has Granderson put himself in the same category as these players?
Time will tellâ€¦ I believe plate discipline will be the key to Grandersonâ€™s success going forward.Â The league is reactionary; when a player has a breakout year the pitchers around the league eventually pitch him differently (see Robinson Cano).Â Cano has fallen into some trouble this season because he is being pitched more carefully after his big 2010.Â He expands the strike zone because he is an aggressive hitter, but there is a difference between being aggressive and being aggressive within the strike zone.Â I do not want Cano taking a lot of strikes because he is an exceptionally talented and dangerous hitter; the same goes for Granderson.Â If Curtis can stay patient and remain aggressive within the strike zoneâ€”granted itâ€™s difficultâ€”he will undoubtedly be considered one of the elite players in Baseball.
NYYUniverse.com Staff Writer
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