The San Diego Padres appear to be fed up with Nick Hundley and his .169 batting average. As a result, they have made the decision to call up their top prospect, Yasmani Grandal. Grandal is initially from Cuba but played his college ball at The U in Miami. In 2010, Grandal was drafted #12 overall, one spot ahead of Chris Sale, by the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds had a logjam at Catcher with Devin Mesoraco also being a top catching prospect, so it was an easy decision for the Reds to use Grandal to yield Mat Latos from the Padres.
Grandal is basically a catcher with a power hitting first-baseman’s hitting tools. Some might say he is a poor-man’s Carlos Santana. I would agree, although, Grandal doesn’t not quite have the batter’s eye that Santana has. I guess that’s why he is the poor man’s version of Santana.
The obvious setback for Grandal is his home ballpark. PETCO is atrocious against left-handed power hitters. Unfortunately, that is the side Grandal’s power comes from. That being said, Grandal may be able to sniff out 10 Home Runs this year if he can get 300+ At Bats. Just don’t expect more than 2 or 3 of those to come at PETCO.
Considering how poor most catcher’s are offensively, Grandal immediately becomes a good fantasy option. He has 15-20 Home Runs potential as early as next season, so he is even more valuable in keeper leagues. If you are still holding on hope with a catcher like Russell Martin, or need to replace one of the many DL’d catchers, Grandal is your man.
Comparable Players: Justin Smoak, Chris Iannetta, Alex Avila
2012 Prediction: 275 AB – 36 R – 9 HR – 41 RBI – 0 SB – .254 AVG