The entire Yankees offense has been unable to do much of anything as of late and Curtis Granderson is no exception. In 2011, Curtis had a monster year at the plate in which he blasted 41 HR and posted a 146 wRC+. While some regression was to be expected, we had reason to believe Granderson’s 2011 season was more than just a fluke. Granderson credited Kevin Long with helping him hit lefties. Previously, Granderson had always pounded right-handed pitchers, but had exhibited an extreme platoon split. In 2011, that platoon virtually disappeared.
While his extreme platoon split appears to have been cured, his offensive game has tailed off consistently all season after a strong start. Even more alarming is the fact that Granderson has done next to nothing at the plate in the last 5 or 6 weeks. He could only muster an anemic .292 wOBA in August and is hitless so far in September. It’s not as if it’s been entirely luck driven either. His strikeout rate has climbed all season long and has reached unacceptable levels in recent weeks.
As always, sample size caveats apply; but, these statistics become reliable fairly quickly and the trends are pretty concerning. His plate discipline statistics tell a similar story: He has swung at 28% of pitches he’s seen out of the zone this year which is well above his career rate of 23%. He’s also having trouble making contact in the zone. Of pitches swung at in the zone, he’s made contact just 81% of the time. This rate was consistently in the high 80’s in years past.
Curtis’ performance has taken a turn for the worst at a very bad time. With nearly everyone else in the lineup struggling, the Yankees can ill afford to have their star centerfielder performing below replacement level. Given Granderson’s track record, he’s not going to keep scuffling like he has. However, something’s definitely up with his performance and it may be time for some sort of an adjustment.
Graphs via Fangraphs