Do you think Yasmani Grandal missed playing baseball for the Chicago White Sox? After a two-month absence due to a surgically repaired torn tendon, Grandal is back and better than ever. In his first 11 games since returning from injury, Grandal is slashing .429/.553/.943.
That 11 game span also includes five homer runs, nine walks, and 16 runs driven in. This jaw-dropping stretch has raised his batting average from .188 to .238. His 20 home runs are also the third-highest total by a White Sox player even though he has played just 76 games.
He was back at it this weekend against the Boston Red Sox. On Saturday he blasted a go-ahead home run in the fifth inning that helped flip a five-run deficit to a one-run lead. In extra innings, he hit a leadoff single that put the go-ahead run on base.
His Sunday box score won’t jump off the page but it was just Yasmani doing Yasmani things. In the second inning, he singled on a sharp ground ball to right field. It was one of just four hits the White Sox would muster in their 2-1 victory. He nearly had another hit in the fifth inning when he hit a rope that was robbed with a leaping snag from Jose Iglesias. He capped off his afternoon with a four-pitch walk in the seventh inning.
Yasmani Grandal is having a scorching hot stretch for the Chicago White Sox.
Grandal is dialed in at the plate. He also seems to be seeing the ball very well and not forcing anything. His at-bats are dictated by what the pitcher is trying to do to him.
"“I can work an AB,” Grandal told reporters after Saturday’s game. “Within two ABs, I can work it into 19, 20 pitches, or I can hit something hard. It just depends on whether they’re pitching me the way that I want them to pitch me or not. And once they do, if I just so happened to be locked in on it, then I’m able to capitalize on it.”"
Grandal’s tireless preparation is the secret behind his success. He is a notoriously hard worker who does hours of homework before each game. The grind didn’t stop while he was rehabbing either.
"“I didn’t turn off,” Grandal said. “As soon as I got surgery, I kept doing homework, I kept doing my reports, just like if I was playing on a daily basis. You learn a lot just by watching. Sitting on the bench just watching taught me a lot. So the fact that I’m able to do what I’ve been doing, it’s great. We needed it.”"
He also seems to have a knack for big moments. In his short time with the White Sox, he has already amassed an impressive collection of clutch hits. Last season, he hit a walk-off home run against the Kansas City Royals. Grandal smacked a pair of homers in last fall’s American League Wild Card Series against the Oakland Athletics, including one off the White Sox current closer Liam Hendriks.
On June 4th, he had a multi-home run game in a wild 9-8 victory against the Detroit Tigers. His second one turned out to be the biggest swing of the game when he tied the game at eight with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
He also hit a walk-off single in extra innings to complete a series sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays. In the White Sox road series against the Pirates, he hit a game-tying pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning, then had a game-winning against RBI double the next day. This is exactly the type of player you want on your team during the postseason. The White Sox are hoping Grandal can ride this heatwave into the playoffs.