Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grandal to Tucson

I'll be back.  Soon.

The San Diego Padres announced reassigning Yasmani Grandal today to AAA Tucson.

This no doubt was a  tough decision.  Offensively Grandal has out-performed John Baker this spring,

  • Baker:    8 for 32, 0 HR, 2 2B, 9 Ks
  • Grandal: 14 for 34, 3 HR, 2 2B, 9 Ks
yet the consistent knock on him is his defense.  Grandal is better served playing everyday in Tucson and working on his handling of the pitching staff and overall defense than he is sitting on the Padres bench watching Nick Hundley play.

Baker is here on a one-year deal.  If Grandal continues to develop this year I doubt the Padres will bring Baker back for 2013.

The Padres also re-assigned Alex Hinshaw to minor league camp.


  1. The whole point is that Grandal and Hundley can't coexist. Both need to play full time. One will likely be traded and I would suspect the likely candidate will be Hundley now that he has a fixed contract. No matter how well Grandal does in spring training, he's not going to sit on the bench behind Hundley in San Diego. The Padres would never start the clock on his arbitration by having him watch games. Don't be surprised if Baker is back next year, only backing up Grandal not Hundley!

  2. Well said.

    Although Hundley's contract makes him potential attractive trade bait, I think Grandal's promotion in 2013 wholly depends on how well he progresses defensively this year.

  3. You guys are forgetting Hagerty and Hedges, and the fact that Grandal has just one year as a professional, split half between high-A and AA - he had a cup of coffee last year in AAA. You're also underestimating the value of Hundley, whose bat has made steady progress and who is by now an above average receiver on a team that relies on pitching and defense.

    Like Grandal, Hagerty is a 6'2" switch hitter with power. He's a year older than Grandal but his 2010 season compares to Grandal's last year - look up the stats. Catcher errors are usually from throwing to bases, and catchers get a lot of errors that were the fault of infielders, but passed balls are all on the catcher. Hagerty had 10 in 2010 and six last year in about 90 games catching. In 94 games catching, Grandal had nineteen!

    Hedges is reputed to be major-league-ready defensively, but the Padres have seen only 34 ABs. He'll need 2-3 years to prove his bat. Hagerty has shown average and power and has been in the Padres system 3 years. Grandal has one pro year, and is unknown to the Padres system. Grandal is going to AAA where all-star catcher Terry Kennedy will be his manager, and his reports are likely going to have a hugeinfluence on Byrnes' moves.

    It's way too early to think about future catchers. The Padres know and like what they have in Hundley, a leader on the field and in the clubhouse, and a good hitter at Petco (.271 lifetime). Baker is a solid backup this year, but Hagerty's development is way ahead of Grandal's and is likely to be the call-up this year and backup next year. The Padres have a year or two to see if Grandal's defense and Hedges' bat improve.

    Bottom line, the Padres have an accomplished starter in Hundley, a mostly-developed backup/starter in Hagerty, a promising slugger in Grandal whose glove may force a position change, and a potential gold glove in Hedges whose bat may not develop, turning him into a classic defensive backup. Byrnes is a bold trader, but he has a lot of calculating to do with these catchers before he can make an moves.

  4. I'll caveat this by saying I'm not an expert on the Padres minor-league system by any stretch, nor do I profess to be one. Also this post was not designed to be an analysis of Padre catching depth.

    I agree with your comments on Hedges. I've not heard of Hagerty before this. He doesn't appear on Fangraphs' most recent SD top 15 prospect list, so I'm not sure how viable he is as a starter/eventual replacement for Hundley. Granted that's only a single data point.

    Thanks for the comments - keep them coming.