Chicago White Sox: Season preview of starting catchers

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox Yasmani Grandal
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Yasmani Grandal

Of course, the big-name free agent mentioned is Yasmani Grandal. Inking a four year $73 million deal, the 31-year-old not only provides the ability to mentor the breaking out players and the coming-up prospects but can put up some pretty sick numbers himself.

Grandal was drafted by the Reds 12th overall in 2010, but he would never play a game for them in the majors as he was involved in a blockbuster trade and sent him to San Diego. The trade sent Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, Edinson Volquez and Grandal to the Padres in exchange for Mat Latos, who would later spend a year with the White Sox

It took Grandal a couple of years to break out in the majors, but right when he really exploded, he was traded to the Dodgers. After four years in LA, Grandal decided to test the market and enter the free agency. He signed a one year deal with the Brewers. For $18 million, the Brewers got an All-Star catcher who recorded an on-base percentage of .380, slugged .468, hit 28 home runs, walked 109 times and finished 15th in MVP voting.

Grandal has never been a hit-for-contact player. The highest batting average he has recorded was .247 in 2017 then .246 last year (min. 115 games). What makes him sought after is his power. He never had a slugging percentage below .400, Grandal consistently drives the ball. The number of home runs he has hit since 2016 is as follows: 27, 22, 24, 28.

He provides a different approach to the plate which is patience. White Sox players have struggled in the area of hanging back and working counts. Coming off his 109 walk season, Grandal is a guaranteed .370 or higher OBP player who will hit at least 25 home runs and slug above .400.

That is just what he can do on the field. Off the field, Grandal is expected to be a team leader that can help his teammates find their own success in the majors along with being able to maintain his. This signing also helps out more than just the catching core. Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito has already expressed his excitement to work with Grandal. The addition of Grandal not only helps the team’s current state but strengthens the infrastructure of the organization for years to come.

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