When looking at the 2016 season, one player has the potential to be a game changer. That player is Randal Grichuk
After the 2013 season and disappointing exit from the World Series, the Cardinals made a move to free up 2nd base for Kolten Wong and for Matt Carpenter to slide over to his natural position at 3rd. The deal included sending both local hero David Freese and Fernando Salas to the LA Angles for Peter Bourjos and a minor league player that seemed like a throw in at the time. This player was Randal Grichuk.
Since the deal, Bourjos has moved on to the Phillies due to the fact that he never reached the level of play that warranted giving him the starting job in center field. Freese (sadly) cannot find a job in the game despite the fact that he put up relatively decent numbers last season. Salas never returned to 2011 form when he was a force coming out of the pen. The only one who really remains full of potential is that throw in player, Grichuk.
Since we have already written an article on the projections of Grichuk (I recommend checking it out after this you finish reading this one), I am going to only talk about what makes Grichuk exciting. When watching him play, he is reckless in both the field and at the plate. He takes wild angles on fly balls and swings the bat with might on every attempt. This results in some misplayed balls as well as high strikeout totals. But this is what makes him so exciting for the Cardinals. He throws caution to the wind in the field. This recklessness led to a minor league gold glove and possibly one in the future.
— Cardinals Report (@stlcards_fanly) February 27, 2016
But his reckless abandon also comes into play at that plate. With swing as hard as he can for almost every attempt, when Grichuk connects, the ball takes flight. His scorching moonshots that should burst into flames upon reentry. With the bat in his hands, the noise coming from the crack of contact is unmistakable. Broadcasters and fans alike will marvel at hi sheer strength and athleticism.We have not seen a player like this for sometime. Not since Jimmy Ballgame, have we since a premium bat at premium position. Grichuk gives us superstar potential while manning center field.
Grichuk put on an impressive rookie campaign. Hitting around the .280 mark with 17 home runs until the injury bug bit. At the time of the injury, Grichuk was leading Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant in almost all stats. Had he stayed on the field, I suspect he would have beaten him out for the award. That is how exciting and frustrating Grichuk can be. He can either give you the world, or simply be above average.
But from a fans point of view, there is not a player that I am more excited to see play a full season than Grichuk. He offers you everything you could want in a player. Let’s just hope he can stay on the field so we can see a special player unfold before us.