In 2006-07, Curtis Granderson‘s two-year UZR was an impressive 27.9. Since then, though, the results have been less than stellar. In 2008, Granderson went backwards, posting an -8.9 UZR. Last season, he recovered with a 1.6 mark. So, after a pretty scattered defensive showing in Detroit, what do the Yankees expect from Granderson in 2010?
Well, a rebound, of course. Via the NY Post, here’s third base coach Rob Thomson discussing the issue:
“Not giving anybody an excuse, but I’ve heard it from a lot of our outfielders – it’s very tough to see in Comerica Park,” Thomson said. “You see a lot of route problems, read problems – it happens in Comerica, the glare off the seats …
“I’ve watched a lot of tape on him. This kid is a special cat. He’s really athletic, really strong, really fast, a quick-twitch guy. I think a lot of that stuff is overblown. He is a much better defender than people are giving him credit for.”
Perhaps there is some legitimacy to Thomson’s claim regarding Comerica Park, however, I doubt that seat glare would fully explain how Granderson could be as good as he was from 2006-07 only to see his defense completely bottom out in 2008. 2008 could have been a dramatic statistical outlier – that is a possibility – or it could have been the result of timid play after Granderson fractured a finger earlier that year (that plus seat glare). Whatever the reason for his defensive downfall two seasons ago, the young center fielder’s 2009 also indicates a lost step in the outfield. There are no clear excuses for Granderson’s performance, though, unless he brought his offensive struggles to the field.
Whatever the case may be, Granderson rebounded enough in 2009 after his disastrous 2008 to spur genuine optimism regarding his defense. He has the range needed to be an above average center fielder, plus his arm isn’t too bad either. Thus, it is reasonable to expect a rebound on the field, as Thomson does, given his overall track record.
Photo by Reuters
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