Randal Grichuk Scouting Report (2014)
Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty are the Cardinals prospect names being fawned over. After all, Randal Grichuk was a “throw in” by the Angels to sweeten the pot in the David Freese/Peter Bourjos swap. With the third baseman struggling, how good can the Triple-A center fielder be anyway? These questions were answered and then some after a four hour drive to the Nashville Sounds‘ home park. Instead of a third wheel, Grichuk shined and presented as the best prospect on the field for either team, flashing solid tools across the board. 12 days later and Grichuk is gearing up for his MLB debut. And while he may not stick initially, Grichuk’s the Cardinals center fielder of the future. Taveras and Piscotty aren’t middle of the diamond players at the next level.
Wearing a full face winter mask on a blustery Nashville night, Grichuk was repeatedly called a “ninja” by the stadium’s loudest fan. The nickname was apt considering Randal Grichuk‘s stealthy athleticism. Leaner than expected, the outfielder was sleek and well-proportioned. At 6-foot-1, he’s maintain an athletic frame for years to come. Grichuk lacked the explosion of more premium athletes, but presented as compact and powerful with quick twitch movements.
At the plate, Randal Grichuk showed power to all fields versus live pitching. In game one, he deposited a middle in fastball over the left field fence for a long home run. In game two, he took two sliders for strikes, sizing up the pitch before driving a third to right-center field, resulting in a triple. Grichuk showed the natural loft and power to project as above average at the Major League level. In his prime, 17-20 home runs are possible over a full season — especially if the hit tool improves marginally.
Helping Grichuk’s hit tool is his simple set up and swing mechanics. His bat speed through the zone is above average to plus, but Grichuk can simplify things further. The timing mechanism is a loud — a hand pumping action which can throw off the swing. And while his bat speed through the zone is above average to plus, Grichuk has length in the back of his swing.
If Grichuk has an identifiable weakness, it’s the swing-and-miss in his hit tool. After the excitement of returning home to write a glowing scouting report, video editing and game notes dampened the excitement a bit. Behind home plate, Randal Grichuk swung and missed a mistake fastball at the letters. Studying the video revealed other instances where he swung through hittable pitches. Admittedly, he did face two pitchers pumping 94-plus in Jimmy Nelson and Johnny Hellweg, but Major Leaguers rarely miss mistakes. On the other hand, Grichuk worked counts well and became aggressive in hitter’s counts. This helps explain the low walk rate and sub-20% strikeout rate as controlled aggression leads to more balls in play.
On defense, Grichuk presented as a solid average center fielder. Any lack of speed was made up for with strong jumps and route running. One one play, he ranged deep into left-center field, cutting off batted ball. From his back foot, Grichuk fired a strong throw to second base. He didn’t nail the runner, but it was an eye opening moment for an outfielder who was camped under everything else hit to him.
In reviewing his early season stat line, one stolen base in two attempts is surprising considering the wheels Grichuk displayed legging out a triple. Plus, he stole second easily off of a slider. Maybe the speed is just a tick above average, but it played up in this look. At the Major League level, double-digit steals are possible if pushed to be more aggressive.
Nashville was expected to be the Tavaras and Piscotty show, but it was Randal Grichuk who made a lasting impression. Credit the Cardinals for acquiring him this off-season. Maybe we were all fooled into thinking Bourjos was the premium chip acquired by St. Louis. After scouting Grichuk, he’s a future MLB regular with more upside than any player included in the deal.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Starting Center Field On A First Division Team Hitting Ability 45 50 Power 50 55 Speed 55 50 Fielding Ability 50 50 Arm 55 55
Owning Randal Grichuk
On the day of his call up, Randal Grichuk became a member of Team ROTOscouting in the TDGX Experts League. He’ll stick around for awhile! Scoop him now if possible, and keep an eye on Grichuk’s production. If he struggles and is sent back to Triple-A, it’s a buy low opportunity. Be bullish on Grichuk and expect a peak of 8-10 steals and 17-20 home runs in his prime. You’ll thank me later!
28 Apr 2014 / Mike Newman / 6
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