Yasmani Grandal – All Star Catcher

There have been few players who are as polarizing to Dodger fans as Yasmani Grandal.  After all, he was traded for a fan favorite by those who valued style over substance and was a locker room cancer to say nothing of his poor defense.  It seems that some value primma donnas and the fact that Yasmani Grandal can not walk on water has hurt his perception.  Well, that and the fact than many oldtimes do not believe that pitch-framing is a “thing.”

Even Ray Charles can see what pitch framing accomplishes.  I refuse to engage in a debate about it because, as much as you may not believe or like it, until electronic balls and strikes is implemented, it will continue to be a “Thing.”  It’s reality, and, that infuriates the Grandalaphobes who are, coincidently also FAZaphobes.  They think that “framing” is silly and irrational, when in fact, something else is silly and irrational.  Get over it.  Embrace reality – pitch framing is here to stay… until computers take over baseball… which is close!

Fangraphs says this:

Framing pitches is a very important part of catching, and we have an idea that the best catchers are worth 15 to 25 runs above average per season.

Oh sure, you can find an article to support your position that pitch framing is not a thing, but there are fifty that say you are wrong.   Next to Buster Posey, Yasmani may be the best framer in the NL… maybe all of baseball.  Some think he is the best in baseball.. Sons of Sam Horn rates Grandal the #1 pitch framer in the game.  Whether he is, depends upon a lot of things – some objective, some subjective.  At least, he is in the conversation.

  • Fox Sports Rates him the 6th best catcher in baseball.
  • ESPN ranks him the #4 best catcher in baseball.
  • Others rank him #10 or lower.

Think what you want, but I believe 2017 will be Yasmani Grandal’s breakout season.  Yeah, I know he hit 27 HR last year – he will hit more in 2017!

Yasmani is working on his diet, strength and conditioning (detect a trend?) and has worked on re-tooling his RH swing all winter.  He might blast 40 HR this year.  He might even hit cleanup!  I think he will an All-Star.

Matt who?

By the way:  That’s my son with Clayton.  Clayton was a rookie (so was my son).  This son:


Bleacher Report rates the Top 100 Players for 2017.  Barely missing the Top 100 were Rich Hill and Zack Greinke. Anyone wanna’ bet who has the best ERA this year?

  • #100 – Kenley Jansen
  • #76 – Yasmani Grandal
  • #54 – Joc Pederson (ahead of Ryan Braun)
  • #53 – Justin Turner
  • #13 – Corey Seager
  • #2 Clayton Kershaw

You know who’s #1!

Today’s Music:



Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 44 Comments

  1. Last year, the 3 catchers on the NL all star squad were Posey, Lucroy and Ramos. This year, Posey will get the votes to be the starter. Lucroy is in the AL now. I can see Yaz beating out Ramos, but I have this feeling that Wilson Contreras will be in the mix … just because he plays for the Cubs and every position player on the Cubs gets extra all star votes.

    1. I am from Missouri -Contreras has to show me. I’m not saying he won’t, but…
      I want to see him do it again. I have doubts…

  2. Several responses:
    1 – I’m not a Grandalophobe but don’t think he’s as good as you do;
    2 – Pitch framing is a thing but it can’t really be measured. It’s not objective. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” (Benjamin Disraeli)
    3 – The rest of his defense is so-so. He is awkward behind the plate – he doesn’t block balls in the dirt well and he doesn’t throw particularly well.
    4 – He will never be a hitter for high average.
    5 – All baseball players are in the “best shape of their lives” every spring! http://grantland.com/the-triangle/mlb-does-best-shape-of-his-life-spring-training-proclamation-matter/

    1. I’m saying that pitch framing doesn’t much involve getting bad balls called strikes; it’s the avoidance of the opposite.

      A year or two ago, AJ Ellis got kicked out of a game for arguing with an umpire who flat out told him “your presentation isn’t good.”

      The numbers are somewhat subjective (not totally), but if you watch Posey, Lucroy and Grandal your eyes can see that they get more “borderline” pitches.

      I am not saying that Pitch Framing is the end-all-be-all, but it is real. That’s part of the reason Greinke loved pitching to Grandal. It may also be the main reason AJ Ellis is no longer here. If your “presentation” costs you one or two key strikes a game, it can be a big dea!

    2. 1 – I am a Grandal fan, undoubtedly not as high on him as Mark, but nevertheless I believe he is a very good catcher; the best power hitting catcher in MLB.
      2 – I believe pitch framing is a thing. It may not be measurable in a true sense, just as fielding range is not measurable, but it can be measured. Ask Zach Greinke what he thinks of Yasmani Grandal and his pitch framing. Was it a fluke that Greinke’s best year was 2015, when Grandal was his catcher? Greinke has a career ERA of 3.42, 120 ERA+, and 1.19 WHIP, and yet for 2015 (the only year Grandal was his catcher) Greinke was 19 and 3 with a 1.66 ERA, 222 ERA+, and .844 WHIP. Of course Greinke had a phenomenal year, but do you not want to give any credit at all to Grandal? Greinke does. A lot of fans were upset that Grandal was playing late in the year and into the playoffs, but Greinke wanted Grandal behind the plate, and while the offense suffered, Greinke did not.
      3-Many LAD fans do not believe the pitching is all that special outside of Kershaw/Jansen, but they cannot have it both ways. Pitchers and Grandal cannot both be mediocre and still lead all of MLB in K’s, #2 in WHIP, and #5 Runs scored against. While Grandal may not be top notch at blocking balls, he does control the pitching and calls a very good game. He is also above league average with CS%; not a lot, but still above league average.
      4-I agree that he will not hit for a high average. But his OPS was .816 for 2016. Considering catchers with at least 250 AB, only Lucroy, Ramos, Leon, Contreras, and Gattis had better OPS. While it may not be BA, can’t OPS be considered a key offensive metric?
      5-Not all players are in the best shape of their lives every spring. Both Grandal and Turner were coming off 2015 surgeries, and were not healthy last spring. They both healed during the year, but neither have that off-season surgery to overcome for Spring 2017.

      1. Agree 100%!!

        Grandal really has been a blessing! Before posters criticize him they should think back to the 2014 Dodger catchers.

        Ellis, .191 BA, 3 HR
        Butera, .188 BA, 3 HR
        Federowicz, .113 BA, 1 HR

      2. I like Grandal, but I think batting average is under estimated, by sabers.

        And I think OPS can be a good measure, but it isn’t all that, with certain players.

        By OPS Joc is a second best offensive player on the Dodgers, and I don’t agree with that.

        Both Joc and Grandal, can have trouble, at times, just making contact.

        And when there is a runner on third, with less then two outs, they have trouble at times, just putting the ball, in play.

        They are not the only ones, there are others, but they seem to have a little more trouble, making contact, then some, in these type of game, situations.

        And I agree with Mark, that is more about the way a catcher, presents a pitch.

        The better an umpire is able to see a pitch, and the strike zone, a pitcher has a better chance, of getting his pitches, called strikes.

    1. Bum

      That doesn’t bother me, that is only one person’s opinion.

      And if Toles, is consistently used in leftfield, he will get better.

      He also has the speed to make up for his routes, while he is getting comfortable.

      He still had the most defensive runs saved, in the Dodger outfield last year, even though he only played for a small part of the season.

    2. Bum

      I just said you were a nice guy, darn you!

      About Thompson in left, I looked at his defensive metrics, and they were not that good, in left.

      But to be fair to Trayce, it is a lot different to play leftfield, and then play center or rightfield, from day to day.

      It is much easier to play the same outfield position everyday, then to be moved around.

      And it is much easier to see that ball off the bat, in centerfield, then in the corner outfield positions.

  3. Here is a new lineup that maybe hasn’t been suggested:

    RF Puig
    CF Pederson
    SS Seager
    3B Turner
    C Grandal
    1B Gonzales
    LF Thompson
    2B Forsyeth

    1. Bum

      If I remember right, Thompson had trouble with routes, just like the author of your article, said Toles had.

      But you have to remember, where Toles, started the season last year.

      How do you think Joc and Thompson, would have done, , if they were just brought up from A ball like Toles was, last year?

      1. I like both Toles and Thompson. I also thought the writer of that article used a very small sample size to back something he wanted to say. I just knew it would but you and I couldn’t resist.
        I probably tease because you keep saying the following over and over:
        ………”And I think OPS can be a good measure, but it isn’t all that, with certain players.”
        ……….”By OPS Joc is a second best offensive player on the Dodgers, and I don’t agree with that.”
        Joc might well be the second best offensive player against righties. He needs to improve his batting average with runners in scoring position to be a very good hitter as well as show he can hit lefties satisfactorily.

        1. Bum

          I do think Joc is a good, defensive centerfielder.

          He does go back on balls really well, and he also suprises me, with the way, he does come up, on balls too.

          And not all outfielders, are good on both.

  4. Toles played outfield last year like he had been out of baseball for a year and then played all over the outfield.

  5. On Grandal: I’ll leave framing to others. What is important to me about him is: 1) he is a tough dude and will get down and dirty; 2) he is a decent hitter, a switch hitter, at that; 3) he hits with power; 4) I think the pitchers like him. The last point is the most important, and I don’t have much information on that. Maybe one of you does. I don’t think he is a great defensive catcher. In fact, I think that is his big weakness and will eventually cost him his job with the team. If a pitcher doesn’t have confidence that his catcher can block that pitch or react to a bad one, that is a problem. The jury is still out for me on that point.

    1. Bobbie, there isn’t any real doubt that Grandal does not block balls in the dirt very well. He is not Tony Pena or Yadi Molina; never will be. But to me, the most important job of the catcher is to call the game and to setup the pitcher. IMO that is where Grandal excels. He studies the game plan, calls a great game, and provides a great target for the pitcher. Pitchers like to pitch to him. Do I wish that he blocked balls in the dirt better…yes. Do I wish he could throw out better than 29% of base-stealers…yes. Do I wish he hit for better average…yes. Grandal is not HOF. But he is a prior All-Star, and should be considered borderline All Star for 2017. He is in the upper tier of MLB catchers. He’may not be the best, but he is darn good,

      1. I love guys who might not be the most talented at something but show up, step up and shut up. Yasmani has grown as a player every year. He has become a better hitter. He has become a better game-called. He has become a better framer. I think he will improve in blocking pitches this year. Steve Yeager is working with him -and I think he will improve his BA as well. He will never win a batting title, but he might hit .260 with a .900 OPS and I’ll take that any day.
        I am not saying he is the best catcher in the game, but he is one of the best – TOP 6, I think!

    2. Knights


      He should have threw a high fastball, just out of the strike zone, after the first hanger.

      And Chapman was out of the game, at that point.

      1. MJ,
        Yeah – I had forgotten how disappointing it was to lose in the NLCS. But I remember thinking that I would not want the Dodgers to trade places with any other team. I like their players and I like the direction they are headed in. Every year, I am confident I get to ride the roller coaster of October baseball cheering for Dodger players that I love following. Every season I look forward to seeing more young talent come through the pipeline and also watch Kershaw break more records.
        Yeah – it stung losing to the Cubs last fall, but I am ready to flush it and enjoy this upcoming season.

  6. The 2016 team was better than the 2015 version and the 2017 version is even better.

    A lot of special things have to happen for us to win a World Series, but we are a step closer and certainly in the chase. We are one of the lead dogs!

  7. Just got back from my son’s football awards dinner where he got his second State Championship Ring. Unreal!
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

      1. We thought we would have another 4 years of this as he was highly recruited, but he decided he was done with football and was recently accepted into IU’s Kelly School of Business. We have been traveling all over since he was in the 4th grade and now it’s over. We are glad, but it still feels empty. He made a wise decision. No major injuries but he got a concussion in the Championship game. He finished the game, but it gave him pause.

        I imagine you logged lots of miles following your son.

    1. They moved closer to the Series during a year that saw EPIC trips to the DL. Most teams that experienced the amount of injuries experienced by the Dodgers would be drafting in the TOP 10 spots.

      It’s not likely to happen again and now we are even deeper.

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