First rounder draft picks may have a high wall of expectations set before them prior to ever stepping foot on a professional baseball field. Many first rounders live up to the hype; you have your Justin Verlanders, Derek Jeters, Clayton Kershaws. However, you also run into your share of Matt Bushes and Adam Johnsons. It’s a bit early for us to decide in which direction 23-year old Randal Grichuk’s career is headed, but his latest stint in with the Cardinals and his performance in the minors give us reason to be optimistic.
The Angels selected Grichuk as the 24th overall pick in the 2009 draft. The Angels, who had two first round picks, selected Mike Trout in the 25th round. Yes…Randal Grichuk was selected before Mike Trout and was supposed to be a cornerstone for the Angels organization. But of course, Mike Trout flew through the minors, was Rookie of the Year, 3x All-Star, and is the current favorite to win the AL MVP, all while Grichuk played injury through injury for five years in the minors.
However, things have been looking better for Grichuk ever since he came over to St. Louis with Peter Bourjos in the David Freese trade. He has 25 homers at Triple-A Memphis this season and is 8-for-20 since being called back up last week. He struggled in his first two stints in the Majors back in April and June, but seems to have come back this time with more confidence. He is polishing his batting approach and learning to deal with the high fastballs that have befuddled him. With great recent numbers, especially against lefties, he is a viable power bat in the Cards’ lineup and additionally, has great range and instinct in the outfield (just check out this catch he made the other day)
Randal Grichuk did not develop as fast as expected, at 23 years old, he still has time for improvement. A very exciting young player who seems to build confidence with each trip back to the Majors, he could become a fixture in the Cardinals clubhouse for the next few seasons and be for the Cardinals what the Angels expected him to be for them.