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Thursday, April 26, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: YASMANI GRANDAL CATCHER LOS ANGELES DODGERS

With it already being an annual challenge to find a competent player even in shallow formats, addressing the catcher position in yearly fantasy baseball leagues has become a beyond frustrating chore that has grown even worse in 2018.  Through the first month-plus of the season, the catcher position has been one big cesspool of nasty numbers and underachievement that has made it double difficult for those who take part in leagues that start two from here.  That means the few catchers who are actually doing something positive this season should earn a little more respect than usual and one player who has earned his keep so far is the Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasmai Grandal.  Once a top hitting prospect in the San Diego Padres system, Grandal transitioned into a guy who was a good average but light power guy in the minors to a very impressive home run hitter who also struggled to bat .240 in the majors.  Entering into the 2018 season at the age of 29, Grandal was also getting heat from backup Austin Barnes who make inroads to the starting job during the playoffs the previous season.  Fast forward to present day and the scorching hot Grandal has put up the following numbers to challenge Yadier Molina as the most productive catcher so far in 2018 fantasy baseball:

.324
4 HR
18 RBI
12 R
0 SB
19.3 K/9
12.0 BB/9
.373 BABIP

Looking at the numbers, what quickly stands out is the .324 batting average which brings back memories from Grandal's minor league days.  That number does seem to be well in outlier mode though since Grandal has hit under .230 every season except one since 2013.  Still, Grandal has made some solid inroads with his overall hitting approach as his current 19.3 K/9 is WAY down from the ugly 27.0 mark he put forth the year prior.  Going along with this is the fact Grandal is drawing walks at a very impressive clip as shown by the 12.0 BB/9 rate.  When you are not striking out frequently and are drawing walks, the batting average will go up and so Grandal is absolutely making progress there.  Of course, the .373 BABIP is not sustainable long-term but Grandal could hit .275 given his strikeout and walk rates which at catcher is like hitting .300.

As far as the rest of the numbers are concerned, Grandal has always shown good power in the majors and he has hit 27 and 22 home runs the last two seasons as evidence of this.  Another 20 home runs is almost certain and Grandal has fully re-established himself as the Dodgers' unquestioned starter the rest of the way barring any injury.  Put it all together and Grandal has been a tremendous buy no matter the league.


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