In the second part of my “Middle Ground” series, I’ll be examining the projections for new centerfielder Curtis Granderson. Last year was a down year (I use the term loosely) of sorts for Granderson. Though he hit 30 homers, his OPS as under .800 for the first time since 2006 and his batting average dropped to a career low .249. He still had 72 walks, though, and his IsoP was just over .200. Basically, 2009 was a mixed bag. With a new team and a new stadium in 2010, Granderson could improve. Let’s see what CHONE, Marcel, Bill James, and the fans have to say about Curtis.
By averaging out the numbers, I got the following projection for Granderson for 2010:
.272/.350/.491/.841 with 27 homers, 78 RBI, 67 BB, 133 SO, 17 SB, 5 CS in 657 PA. That would be the best performance the Yankees have gotten from a CF since Bernie Williams was a part of the team. Granderson also plays–at the very least–good defense and with his bat, could be a very valuable player. If he stays in CF all season, it’s quite likely that Granderson could be at least a three-win player, and he could also make a push to be a four-win player, if he outperforms his projection a bit, which is possible.
Granderson is going from an average lineup to one of the best in all of baseball and that could help him hit at an even higher level than what I’m projecting here. In the five spot, he’ll have a lot of guys on base in front of him, and there’s a good chance that those guys will be in scoring position.
Moving parks will also help Curtis. While YSIII isn’t exactly the hitter’s haven the MSM makes it out to be, it is very friendly to lefty power hitters and it could boost Curtis’s home run rate. Obviously, the more homers Curtis hits, the better he will be.
While Granderson’s projected 133 strikeouts seem like a lot, he’s also projecting to walk a good amount of times too–67. All four systems, and mine, project Curtis to have a higher BB/K (anywhere from .49-.53) than his career rate (.44) and his walk rate will likely stay in double digits.
As I said with Brett Gardner last night, if Granderson can put up what is his “average” projection, I’ll be absolutely thrilled. While I wasn’t too hot on a trade for Curtis before it actually happened–however, that deal was just way too great to be angry at–I’m very excited to see Curtis suit up for the Bombers this year. Both his bat and his defense should be a welcome sight in centerfield after years of average or below average play there.