No products in the cart.
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
From July 6 to August 26:
OBP: .320 (16th in MLB)
BB%: 8.5% (15th in MLB)
Team Catcher Slash Line: .187/.298/.353
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.
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.