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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: RANDALL GRICHUK OUTFIELDER ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

When it comes to the St. Louis Cardinals, it has become a habit to expect nothing but greatness from any pitcher or hitter who comes out of the team's always terrific minor league system.  No one needs to be reminded of how high a number of prospects the Cards have hit on over the years and 2016 brought forth a few names who were popular sleepers at the draft table.  Yours truly bought into the hype when it came to Stephen Piscotty whose low K rate and tremendous natural hitting ability portended to him doing big things this season.  A guy who got even more hype but who I was not keen on was power-hitting outfielder Randal Grichuk who opened eyes by slamming 17 home runs in just 350 at-bats at the age of 23 in 2015.  Clearly Grichuk has some big power and as we all know, the fantasy baseball community has a very big soft spot for those who can clear outfield fences in this era of the pitcher.  While I no doubt was impressed by the power at such a young age, I instead warned over the big negatives that Grichuk brought to the table and that many overlooked.  Specifically speaking, Grichuk carried a big red flag last season by striking out in a crazy 31.4 percent of his at-bats.  What happened here is that Grichuk's very lucky .365 BABIP helped him hit .276 which looked decent on paper for a young hitter.  However without the luck, Grichuk would have hit more around the .250 mark with that very high K rate and that is why I told you all to go with Piscotty instead this season.  So far in 2016, I have been proven right on that by a wide mile as Piscotty has been hitting ropes from the start with developing power.  Meanwhile Grichuk was benched Monday as he was hitting a woeful .179 as he once again was striking out at a high 27.3 percent rate.  Flat out, Grichuk has little plate discipline right now and he is more likely to be sent back down to the minors then continue playing at this rate.  Again I always warn about investing in guys who strike out over 22 percent of the time as the average is almost always ugly under that rate and takes shine from the power output.  Grichuk shoud be on your bench right now and even if you cut him outright, I could understand why you felt that need to do so.  While Grichuk is still young and should eventually improve, I think 2016 will be more difficult than prosperous. 

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