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Curtis Granderson adds to Dodgers depth, experience

New York Mets v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

I have no real idea how playing time will be divvied up with Adrian Gonzalez now back and Curtis Granderson soon to come aboard. But the veteran additions give the Dodgers several options down the stretch and in October.

Manager Dave Roberts has often this season referred to the Dodgers’ depth as a “high-class problem,” and it is Roberts who will shuffle the deck.

With Gonzalez, the issue is simply one of health. If he is right physically, and hitting — the double pulled to right field in his first at-bat Friday was a good sign — he will play quite a bit, and will likely be a boost to an already potent lineup. If he isn’t healthy and/or productive, his playing time will wane.

Dodgers wRC+ vs. RHP

NL rank Player wRC+
NL rank Player wRC+
6 Cody Bellinger 158
8 Chris Taylor 147
23 Corey Seager 133
25 Yasiel Puig 132
26 Justin Turner 132
35 Curtis Granderson 123
56 Yasmani Grandal 111
58 Joc Pederson 110
Through Aug. 18; 123 players with a minimum of 200 PA vs. RHP Source: FanGraphs

We don’t yet know how Granderson will be used, though I’m sure Roberts will address the issue with reporters before Saturday afternoon’s game. But in the newcomer, the Dodgers added yet another weapon against right-handed pitching.

Granderson this season is hitting .230/.349/.504 against righties, with a 123 wRC+.

That includes a horrific first month of the season that saw Granderson just 6-for-56 (.107) against right-handers. Since then, he is hitting .266/.396/.594 with a 156 wRC+ with the platoon advantage.

Overall since May 1, Granderson is hitting .263/.383/.570.

Plate discipline

The Dodgers lead the majors in walks, something they haven’t done in 64 years. In Granderson, they add another discernible eye to the fold.

Granderson’s career walk rate is 11 percent, compared to 8.3 percent for the league as a whole throughout his 14 major league seasons. He has had a walk rate of a least 10 percent every year for the last decade, and in 2017 his 13.4-percent mark is a career high.

He does have 90 strikeouts on the season, and averaged 141 strikeouts per year from 2014-16, but Granderson is very much a contact hitter. He swings and misses just 7 percent of the time, the 14th-lowest swinging strike rate in the National League among qualified batters.

Against right-handed pitching, Granderson is walking at a 14.9-percent clip this season -- 44 walks in 295 plate appearances -- and 12 percent in his career.

The major league walk rate in 2017 is 8.53 percent.

Clubhouse presence

Granderson by all accounts is one of the most well-liked players in the game. He won the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award for his leadership on the field and charitable work off of it.

His Grand Kids Foundation has helped children with educational and baseball opportunities for over a decade, and Granderson donated $5 million to fund a new baseball stadium in 2014 for his alma mater, the University of Illinois Chicago.

Granderson was also the brainchild within the Mets locker room of the “We follow Lucas Duda” Instagram account, featuring a series of randomly-taken photos of the former New York first baseman. When Duda was traded to the Rays a few weeks back, Granderson’s reaction was fun:

Don't Go Lucas!!!!! Gonna miss you buddy!!!

A post shared by Lucas Duda (@wefollowlucasduda) on

Postseason pedigree

Granderson hit .283/.375/.491 with 12 RBI in 14 games during the Mets’ pennant run in 2015, including hitting three home runs in the World Series. He is a career .239/.339/.457 hitter during the postseason -- pretty much in line with his career .254/.340/.474 mark.

With 51 postseason games and 222 plate appearances under his belt, Granderson gives the Dodgers more October experience. Chase Utley, with 59 games and 239 postseason PA, is the only Dodger with more October experience.

Gonzalez (34 games, 140 PA) and Yasiel Puig (27 games, 83 PA) are the only other active Dodgers batters to play in at least 20 postseason games. Andre Ethier, who is currently on a minor league rehab assignment but who hasn’t played in the majors this season, has played in 43 postseason games with 130 PA.

However they decide to use him, the Dodgers got better with the addition of Curtis Granderson.