Curtis Granderson: Mets Season In Review


Today’s Season in Review feature player is Curtis Granderson.

During the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons, no other player hit more home runs than Curtis Granderson.

Early in 2013 (his last season with the Yankees) he broke his right forearm in Spring Training which forced him to miss 6 weeks.  He returned to action on May 14th, but a mere 8 games later Curtis was hit by a pitch and suffered a broken finger (5th metacarpal) on his left hand that disabled him through August 1st.

Sep 19, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) prepares for an at bat against the Atlanta Braves in the fourth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As an impending free agent, Curtis only managed 61 games played.

Heading into the 2013 off-season, Sandy Alderson sorely needed to fortify a widely criticized outfield with a proven power hitter, while fans concurrently demanded a stronger financial effort from the organization.

After spending 10 years in the American League with the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees, Curtis Granderson accepted Sandy Alderson’s contract offer to move across town and play in the Senior Circuit with the Mets.

During his introductory presser, Granderson’s early attempt at endearing himself with fans backfired after he retold a musing (he said he once heard) intimating how (paraphrasing) real New Yorkers are Mets fans.

Although obviously said in jest, Granderson’s quip failed to hit its mark, and of course, the local media instead spun it into a days-long controversy.

Unfortunately for the amiable outfielder, the majority of his first campaign as a New York Met followed suit.

How he fared in 2014:

Signing for big free agent money comes with high expectations – that’s just law of the land.

Few expected him to replicate his recent 40-home run seasons.  For the Mets particular needs, Sandy Alderson anticipated a middle of the order bat capable of hitting 25+ home runs and driving in 80+ runs.

However, although he finished September with a flourish, Curtis Granderson arguably completed the worst season of his career.

On September 26th, in the regular season’s final series against Houston, Curtis finally hit his 20th home run, and drove in his 66th and last run of the season.  Despite achieving at least 20 home runs for the 7th time in his career, this marked Granderson’s lowest output over a full season since hitting 19 in 2006 for the Tigers, while his 66 RBI matched a career low.

In fact, 2014 was pockmarked with several career lows.

In 155 games and 564 at-bats, Curtis posted a career low .227 batting average.

With a .388 mark, Granderson failed to slug over .400 for the 1st time over a full season, which subsequently led to a career low .161 ISO – well below his .220 career average.

Over a full season, his .714 OPS was yet another career low.

  • Curtis Granderson struggled in April, slashing an unsightly .145/.265/. 299/.494
  • He stabilized in May with a more respectable .253/.373/.465/.838
  • By June, it seemed as if Granderson finally had National League pitching figured out when he posted a healthy .300/.411/.522/.933 slash, with 5 home runs and 13 RBI.

But he could not sustain that rate.  Over the next 2 months, Terry Collins utilized Granderson primarily as the lead-off hitter.

  • In July he dipped to .242/.314/.440/.753
  • In August, he posted a distressing slash of .147/.231/.183/.415, with just 1 home run, and 5 RBI.

Terry Collins then dropped Curtis back down to 6th in the order, and after missing a game on September 3rd, Granderson closed out the final 22 games of the season going 26 for 78 (.333), with 4 home runs, and 17 RBI.

  • Over the final month he slashed .299/.378/.540/.918

As in June, fans thought that was more like it.  At a minimum, he offered hope for a better Curtis Granderson in 2015.

Areas to improve upon:

For now, Curtis needs to continue putting an injury plagued 2013 season, and a sub-par 2014 season behind him.

Heading into 2015, working out a stroke more conducive to Citi Field (where he struggled mightily) is paramount.

  • In 282 at-bats at Citi Field, Curtis slashed .195/.290/.340/.630, with 31 runs scored, 16 doubles, 7 home runs and 26 RBI.
  • In 282 at-bats on the road, he slashed .259/.360/.436/.796, with 42 runs scored, 11 doubles, 13 home runs and 40 RBI.

While Granderson’s overall GB, GB/FB and FB ratios all fell within his normal career ranges, his line drive ratio dipped below 19.0% for only the 2nd time over a full season, and his 10.1 home run/fly ball ratio established a career low.

However, in 2014 his pitch selectivity improved, and that’s good news moving forward.  Grandy’s 79 walks were the 2nd most in his career.  His 12.1 BB% was slightly above his career average, and with 141 strikeouts his 21.6 K% was noticeably below his average.  His overall 0.56 K/BB was his 2nd best mark.

Otherwise, the Mets need the Curtis Granderson of June and September on a more consistent basis.  That’s where the manager comes in, because a little help from Terry Collins could go a long way towards raising Granderson’s overall productivity.

Projected role in 2015:

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • In 210 at-bats as the lead-off hitter Grandy slashed .210/.289/.348/.637, with 8 doubles, 7 home runs and 15 RBI.
  • In 60 at-bats as the #2 hitter, he slashed .083/.222/.100/.322.
  • In 167 at-bats as the clean-up hitter, he slashed .210/.337/.383/.720, with 9 doubles, 6 home runs, and 15 RBI.

Granderson’s best work came as the #5 and #6 hitter:

  • In 56 at-bats hitting 5th, he slashed .375/.453/.625/1.078, with 4 home runs and 14 RBI.
  • In 67 at-bats hitting 6th, he slashed .328/.403/.597/1.000, with 3 home runs, and 14 RBI.

Curtis Granderson’s role in 2015 seems very clear then; he should play right field and bat behind the clean-up hitter.

Contract status and trade rumors:

Curtis signed a 4-year, $60 million dollar contract.

  • 2014 – $13 million
  • 2015 – $16 million
  • 2016 – $16 million
  • 2017 – $15 million

To date, he has not been mentioned in any trade rumors.

Granderson will turn 34-years old in March.  It’s very likely Granderson’s age and contract make him a near immovable player unless the Mets pick up a portion of his salary.