clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 Dodgers review: Yasmani Grandal

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Yasmani Grandal gave the Dodgers everything they asked for and more both behind and at the plate in 2015, before a shoulder injury cut into his production for the final third of the season.

What went right

Grandal was second on the team with 65 walks and tied for third with 16 home runs. He had just the 10th season by a Dodgers catcher with at least 15 home runs and 60 walks, and the first since Russell Martin in 2007.

He made his first All-Star team, deservedly one of four Dodgers players to make the midsummer trip to Cincinnati.

Grandal had a .335 wOBA, and his 115 wRC+ ranked third among all catchers in MLB with at least 300 plate appearances.

He hit .375/.478/.661 in May, then followed that up with seven home runs in June.

Behind the plate, Grandal lived up to his reputation as an excellent framer of pitches, topping Baseball Prospectus' mjor league catcher rankings, saving 25 runs above average.

Grandal hit 15 of his 16 home runs as a left-handed batter in 2015. But even though just one of his home runs came from the right side (he started just six games against left-handed pitchers in 2015), Grandal still hit .308/.410/.385 in 61 plate appearances against southpaws.

At the end of play on Aug. 6, after a series in Philadelphia that saw him go 3-for-8 with a double, a walk and a sacrifice fly in his two games, Grandal was hitting .295/.400/.513, tops among National League catchers.

For reference, there have only been eight seasons in Dodgers history of a player having at least a .380 on-base percentage and a .480 slugging percentage while playing at least 80 games at catcher. Three of those seasons were by Mike Piazza (1995-97), and four were by Roy Campanella (1949, 1951, 1953, 1955), with Piazza the only one to reach .400/.500 (all three years).

What went wrong

Grandal injured his left shoulder at some point during that Pennsylvania road trip in August, and after Aug. 6 he had just six hits in 94 at-bats the rest of the season with 30 strikeouts, though he also managed to walk 19 times during that span. That slump included an 0-for-36 skid from Aug. 19 to Sept. 12.

Even with the shoulder injury sapping his offensive production, Grandal was still valued on defense and as a receiver, and still started 28 of the final 54 games of the regular season. Grandal went 1-for-10 with a walk and six strikeouts in the NLDS, with his one hit a two-run single in Game 3. He started three of the five games.

The shoulder was bad enough to require arthroscopic surgery to repair the A/C joint on Oct. 21 in Los Angeles, though the good news was that Grandal did not suffer a labrum tear, the malady that essentially robbed the power from Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez at different points in their career.

"I was very happy to hear that the labrum wasn't touched once I woke up from the surgery," Grandal said in October.

Grandal also missed a week on the disabled list in May with concussion symptoms.

2015 particulars

Age: 26

Stats: .234/.353/.403, .335 wOBA, 16 home runs in 115 starts, 1.4 rWAR, 2.3 fWAR

Salary: $693,000

Game of the year

On May 7 in Milwaukee, Grandal went 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs and drove in a career-high eight runs, one shy of the Dodgers franchise record for RBI in a game.

Roster status

Grandal is eligible for salary arbitration this winter for the first time, with three years remaining until free agency. He is expected to be fully healthy and ready by the start of spring training.