Yasmani Grandal Returns

The Chicago White Sox Friday afternoon announced the return of starting catcher Yasmani Grandal. Out since July 5, Grandal completed his rehab assignment with Birmingham and Charlotte. In 11 games, Grandal hit .303/.368/.424 between the two levels as he tried to get back into rhythm with his swing. With a nine game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central, Grandal’s return was not urgent, but for the first time in 2021 the White Sox are close to full strength. After 129 games, White Sox fans will finally get to witness the power of this fully armed and operational lineup. 

Offensively, it was a sharp dropoff with Grandal’s absence. From April 1 to July 5, the White Sox had a team OBP of .338, which was the second best in all of MLB. Since Grandal’s injury, that team OBP dropped to .320 which put the White Sox 16th in baseball. Walk-rate almost dropped 2% without Grandal, and despite Seby Zavala’s three home run game, he and Zack Collins were not as productive at the plate. 

From April 1 to July 5th: 

OBP: .338 (2nd best in MLB)

BB%: 10.4% (4th best in MLB)

Team Catcher Slash Line: .203/.364/.412

BB%: 20.1% 

wRC+: 120

From July 6 to August 26:

OBP: .320 (16th in MLB)

BB%: 8.5% (15th in MLB)

Team Catcher Slash Line: .187/.298/.353

BB%: 12.2%

wRC+: 83

Speaking of Collins, the White Sox optioned him to Charlotte. That’s the key phrase because technically the White Sox could save an option with Collins if they call him back up before 20 days in AAA. If they don’t return Collins from AAA within that time frame, well, it certainly makes next year’s Spring Training for the White Sox 2016 first round pick interesting as he’ll carry no options. 

It was a missed opportunity for Collins to prove he could be the future starting White Sox catcher. After getting assigned with Lucas Giolito for most of the season and bulk of games early in Grandal’s absence, Collins lost the starting gig to Zavala. Despite the pitch blocking woes, Zavala is a much better framer than Collins, and a bit surprising, had improved results at the plate. 

Source: FanGraphs

After knee issues during Spring Training, Grandal started slow out of the game in 2021 hitting just .127/.294/.273. The results picked up a bit in May (.136/.467/.409), but June was excellent for Grandal (.260/.402/.603). It may take some time for him to find his rhythm and his next month could look close to his April output. With the White Sox division cushion, it’s more important if Grandal can rediscover his June form right as the postseason starts. 

Or, as we are seeing with Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert since their IL return, Grandal could catch fire and the dreams of a juggernaut 2021 offense are finally realized. Either way, it’s great to (finally) have the band back together.

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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“for the first time in 2021 the White Sox are close to full strength”

Are Hamilton, Engel and Marshall the only contributors missing at the moment?

Last edited 9 months ago by joewho112

Speaking of Marshall, when he comes back who gets moved off the 40-man roster? Do they just move Stiever to the 60 day IL?


Is there any status update on Marshall?


Just checked, he threw an inning at Charlotte last night. Hope the time off makes him a different pitcher.

Trooper Galactus



I don’t know if Marshall can be called a contributor. I’m not sure I hope he pitches much, at least not in October.

Last edited 9 months ago by LamarHoyt_oncrack

Good Marshall is a contributor. Perhaps healthy Marshall is good Marshall.


I’d love to see 2020 Marhsall. 2021 Marshall is tough to watch.


And we are getting a full strength set of commentators for the first time in a month! Things are looking up!

Greg Nix

That feels like it was Collins last/best chance. I think he’ll be with a new team next year.


Any chance they sign Yan Gomes to backup next year? We can only hope


Whoever it it, the backup catcher has to come from outside the org. Its 100% clear that we don’t have a viable option anywhere in the minors for 2022.


A lineup with Yan, Yasmani, Yoan, Yermin, Yoelqui and Yolbert would be fun.




I bet their favorite band is the Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeahs.


Yahweh would be pleased.

Root Cause

Y not?


It’s a shame Yeyson Yrizarri didn’t pan out.


Getting thoroughly outslugged by Seby Zavala at this stage has to be the last nail

As Cirensica

Yes, he will be with another team, and probably in another country too.


He’ll be gone if they can find a trade that makes sense. I know a lot of people don’t think anyone would want him, but I don’t agree with that.

Trooper Galactus

He’ll probably be gone even if they can’t trade him. What exactly is the point of rostering a guy who actively hurts your team both on offense and defense?


He’s out of options, right? So if he’s back he would *probably* be on the AAA roster and not on the 40-man. If no one wants him then maybe they just hope he catches fire in AAA next year and either provides valuable depth or some trade value. If he doesn’t catch fire then he probably ends up on the street when the Sox need to give the AAA playing time to someone for developmental reasons.

I do wonder if the right 2022 minor league approach would be to just have him DH/1B and see if he can hit well enough to provide value with every day at bats.

Last edited 9 months ago by soxygen

I followed him as closely as any White Sox prospect in history, hoping he’d become essentially what Grandal is now – low average but respectable/high OBP and SLG. His batting eye and raw power suggested it was just a matter of putting it all together but he never did and unlike Flowers wasn’t able to develop the defensive chops to cover for his bat.

Trooper Galactus

Good. I have not once seen Collins play, whether at Charlotte or in Chicago, and thought he was a useful MLB contributor of any sort.


Possibly in Japan.


I wouldn’t be shocked to see the 2022 back-up catcher plan simply be the reverse of the 2021 plan. Zavala will be out of options. He’s in his prime, for what that’s worth, he should get more comfortable batting in the majors, and he would likely be nearly as good as any back-up catcher we’d find elsewhere.

Collins, on the other hand, will have one option remaining (there’s no way the Sox let him waste it this year). I still think he can be better with the bat than he’s shown and he wouldn’t be the first catcher to see his defense finally show a little improvement in his late 20’s. He could be stashed in AAA and wouldn’t be the worst 3rd-string catcher in the league.


I saw the headline and thought it said, “Yasmani Grandal Retires.” My heart stopped for a moment.


well, there is precedence


Regarding options, is Zavala out of options?


Due to his age? Because I think this is only his second big league stint.


He was called up in ’19 so I believe three options have been used


Looks like he still has one left. I don’t think last year counted as an option year.



FG also shows Adolfo with an option. I don’t know if it is accurate or maybe not reflecting this year


His option for this year has already been used so they could have moved him down if they wanted


Sure, but like with Collins, there is a question about next spring


“the power of this fully armed and operational lineup”

Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, out there on the field, are walking into a trap,… It was I who allowed them to know the location of the field. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops await them. Oh, I’m afraid the OPS will be quite operational when your friends arrive. [shows evil, condescending smile]


They must be pretty confident that Grandal can play catcher regularly. We should consider that to be a good sign.

Last edited 9 months ago by soxygen

He has risen!

My worries about Collins and Zavala leading me to prefer Lucroy remain in place, but here’s hoping Grandal stays healthy and puts any reserve catcher’s postseason plate appearances in the low single digits.