Time with Dodgers: 2015-2018
Stats: .238/.337/.453/.790, 89 HR, 245 RBI, 386 H, 76 2B, 113 OPS+, .341 wOPA, 116 wRC+
Baseball Reference WAR: 10.5
FanGraphs WAR: 19.7
Combined WAR: 15.1
Yasmani Grandal came over to the Dodgers in a trade with the Padres in December of 2014. In the trade, the Dodgers sent Matt Kemp to San Diego. Grandal would be the primary catcher for LA over the course of four seasons, before signing with the Brewers in 2019.
Grandal’s career with the Dodgers got off to a hot start in 2015. Through the middle of July, he was hitting .282/.401/.526/.927 with 14 home runs, 36 RBI and nearly as many walks as strikeouts. His stellar play earned him a spot on his first All-Star team. Even after the All-Star Game he was still the best catcher in baseball, as he hit .354 over the following month.
Once the middle of August rolled around he struggled significantly. Over the remaining 31 games of the season, Grandal went 6-for-94, which comes out to a .064 average. He had a stretch of 12 consecutive games where he failed to get a base hit.
Grandal overall had a pretty good 2016 season with LA, but a lengthy struggle really cost him what could have been a great season. From May 5 through July 5, Grandal hit only .145 with an OPS of .601. Luckily for him, he was able to turn things around to close out the year.
On July 8 versus his former team, Grandal went 5-for-5 with three home runs and six runs driven in. Over the remainder of the season, he’d hit .270/.374/.574/.947 with 18 home runs and 41 RBI. His hot play to close out the year helped him finish 22nd in the National League MVP voting. For the season, Grandal finished with 27 home runs and 72 RBI, joining Mike Piazza and Roy Campanella as the only catchers in Dodgers history to finish a year with those numbers.
Though his second half of 2017 wasn’t as bad as 2015, Grandal still failed to close out the year on a high note. Through July 29, Grandal was once again one of the best catchers in baseball. He was hitting .275 with an OPS above .800, to go along with his 14 home runs and 41 RBI. Over his final 45 games, Grandal hit .186 and was striking out in nearly 40 percent of his at-bats.
In his final season with LA, Grandal yet again went hot and cold. Through April, he was hitting .315 with an OPS of .953. Then, over his next 44 games, he’d hit .171 with 40 strikeouts. Once that streak came to an end, he hit .373/.495/.787/1.281 with eight homers over a 24-game stretch. Then, his bat went ice cold again, as he hit .191 with 49 strikeouts over his final 37 starts of the season.
His cold bat carried into October seemingly every season. During his postseason career with LA, Grandal hit only .107, and struck out 35 times in 75 at-bats.
There were stretches where Grandal was without-a-doubt the best catcher in all of baseball. Then, there were stretches where he was arguably one of the worst catchers in baseball. Had he been able to been a more consistent hitter, he very well might still be playing for the Dodgers, and potentially could have been a difference maker in the Dodgers winning a World Series.
Here’s where Grandal ranks among catchers in Dodgers history:
- 89 home runs (5th)
- 207 runs (10th)
- 386 hits (13th)
- 76 doubles (10th)
- 245 RBI (9th)
- 241 walks (7th)
- 113 OPS+ (4th)
- .790 OPS (4th)