TigsTown Roundtable: Granderson Down Year?

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Would you say that Curtis Granderson has had a down year so far this season?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The question is really predicated on what your belief of Curtis Granderson's true ability is. If you believe Granderson is a .900 OPS player, like what he did for the Tigers in 2007, then he's obviously having a down year. But I don't share that belief. Granderson is currently 25th in the AL in runs created, a tad below where he's been in the past couple seasons. But his BABIP is just .282 (he's never been below .316 in past seasons) and given his line drive percentage has remained constant, it's more likely that Granderson has run into a bit of bad luck. So, Granderson's production is down a bit, but it's hard to say he's actually having a down year. What he is having is a season with a bit of bad luck coupled with being forced to play more against lefties (which he's struggling mightily with), but is still hitting for plenty of power (24 home runs, already a career high) and is on pace to set a personal best for stolen bases. So is Granderson having a down year? Maybe if you want to look at it that way. But really, he's playing up to his ability with a bit of bad luck mixed in.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I can't say that I believe Granderson is having a 'down year,' but what I can say is that he is having a different year. Granderson is posting a comparable isolated slugging percentage to his 2008 season, though off from his historic 2007 season. His batting average on balls in play is down around the .280 mark, which is a touch below average, indicating a hint of luck working against him this season (which may help explain his downturn in batting average, at least partially). He has roughly maintained his walk rate, and only slightly increased his strikeout rate over last season; a season in which he was praised for his improvement in both areas. Granderson has however, reverted to being completely hapless against left-handed pitching; posting an inept line of .185/.262/.262 through Monday's game with the Angels. That's down right awful, and significantly impacting his overall production this season. To say that Granderson is having a down year would be misleading in that it assumes that something between his strong 2008 campaign, and his historic 2007 campaign, is where he should be performing. In actuality, he should probably be performing at just about the level he has been, particularly if his BABIP comes up a touch. That's not a bad player at all, but Curtis Granderson has quickly developed a reputation for being capable of more than he really is. Once people realize he's not going to hit for a high average (as long as he's playing regularly against lefties anyway), that he's going to walk and strikeout some, hit some home runs, hit some doubles, and collect triples when the opportunity arises, I think people will come to grips with the idea that this 2009 version of Curtis Granderson is much more in line with what we should be expecting from him on an annual basis.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Despite having a 20/20 season (24 home runs and 20 stolen bases through Sunday), I think Granderson has had an off year. The number of extra-base hits (despite a career high in homers), has dropped off considerably. When Granderson had his quad-20 season two years ago, he had 84 extra-base hits. Last year he had 61, and with 45 near the end of August, Granderson will need a hot September to approach his overall totals, and what's even more startling, is the number of doubles and triples has declined sharply this year. His batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS are all down significantly as well, and Granderson has been awful against left-handers by hitting just .178 against southpaws. Hopefully, he'll get things turned around, because the Tigers are going to need him to be an offensive catalyst next year.

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