Curtis Granderson Moves to Two Spot
Here are this afternoon’s lineups:
Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson switch places in the Mets lineup. Granderson is batting .140 and is 2 for his last 16. What do you do with someone slumping so mightily? Move him up in the lineup, of course, so he can get more at-bats. Wait, what?
Hey, maybe it’ll work. The theory, I imagine, is that Grandy will see more fastballs with Eric Young, Jr. hitting ahead of him. Of course, that’s assuming Eric Young, Jr. gets on first base. And thus far, Young, Jr. has been getting on base 35% of the time, which is pretty good.
Well, now, hold on a second — let’s look at this more fully. So, in theory, Young, Jr. gets on first base somehow, and since he’s a threat to steal, more fastballs will be called with Granderson at the plate. Additionally, the first baseman will be holding the runner so there’s presumably a larger hole on the right side of the infield for the pull-happy Granderson to hit through. However, the whole point of Young at the top of the lineup is that he is a steal threat — so, do you want Granderson taking pitches so that Young can take second base? Hmm …
Further, let’s say it works out that Young gets on first and steals second. Now what? Will the opposing pitcher be throwing more fastballs with a man on second? If anything, he’ll probably be offering more breaking pitches, and pitches out of the strike zone, especially with first base open.
And then there’s the other situation — the one where Young, Jr. makes an out / is not on first base. With one out and no one on base, will Granderson get many fastballs?
Finally, there is protection for David Wright. I think that Granderson’s presence on the on-deck circle can help convince pitchers to pitch to Wright in certain situations — regardless of how poorly Granderson is hitting. However, is anyone going to worry about walking Wright with Daniel Murphy on deck? Never mind the fact that Murphy hits fairly well with RISP, and incredibly well with two outs and a man on third — there are few pitchers in baseball who would rather pitch to Wright than Murphy. But, maybe that will work out well for the Mets — pitchers will walk Wright to face Murphy, and Murphy will get big hits. But, that’s getting away from the crux of the matter, which is that Granderson is slumping, and now he’ll be getting more at-bats than anyone other than the leadoff hitter.