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Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: RANDAL GRICHUK OUTFIELDER ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Annually lauded as having one of the best run organizations in Major League Baseball, a main part of the ongoing success of the St. Louis Cardinals centers on their very fertile farm system that continually churns out high quality pitchers and hitters.  With the core of the Cardinals aging as Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright all slipping as they continue on in their mid-30's, the need for youth is quite pronounced.  Enter in promising powerful outfielder Randal Grichuck who is set to be an everyday member of the batting order this season and thus carries with him some nice fantasy baseball value.  As always let's dig in deeper and find out what he is capable of providing his owners in 2016. 

A baby at the age of 24, Grinchuk comes off a 2015 season where he played regularly for the first time and the results were very intriguing as he batted .276 with 17 home runs and 49 RBI in just 250 at-bats.  What easily stands out about Grichuk is the power as his rate last season was toward the tremendous mark of 30 home runs if he had played a full year.  It is this power that carries the value for Grinchuk as he does have some overall shortcomings which we will discuss.  Getting further into it, Grichuk hit 28 home runs in 2014 in a season mostly spent at Triple-A (with 3 more bombs in his initial cup of coffee run with the Cards).  With a full season of at-bats, Grichuck could very well threaten 25 home runs and 75 RBI as he cements his spot in the middle of the order for years into the future.  Grichuck also had a decent enough OBP in 2015 at .329 which means he should be a 70-plus guy in runs as well to make him a three category help.

Now as far as the negatives, Grichuk struggles with strikeouts as he whiffed in a ridiculously high 31.4 percent of his at-bats last season.  If not for a very lucky and unsustainable .365 BABIP, Grichuk would have been more of a .250 hitter then a .276 one.  And even going back to his minor league days, Grichuk tended to strike out as well which makes him a batting average liability and takes some value away from his power.  In addition, Grichuk is not a base stealer either which puts him again as just a three-category guy with upside. 

When you put it all together, Randal Grichuk reminds one of a Jay Bruce player who can hit a high number of home runs, help in runs and RBI, and hurt you in average.  He comes cheaper then Bruce so Grichuk is the better buy but keep in mind the kid is not as flashy a fantasy baseball investment as some other young hitting sleepers for the 2016 season.  Draft him accordingly based on that assessment. 

2016 PROJECTION:  .259 24 HR 73 RBI 70 R 2 SB 

 

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