Curtis Granderson: First Time All-Star, Many More To Come?

Dave HamptonCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 01:  Curtis Granderson #28 of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the dugout prior to the Major League Baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on July 1, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

At age 28, Curtis Granderson is a first time All-Star. I definitely do not think this will be his last trip to the mid-summer classic.

Granderson got selected for his first All-Star game by putting up the type of productive numbers he is bound to increase upon in his career. He is already five home runs away from his season best total of 23, set in 2007. He has his 18 dingers this season in only 86 games played.

Granderson's RBI totals should increase over the next couple seasons, as well. Being moved to the middle of the batting order from leadoff should facilitate that.

Realistically, Granderson is not a leadoff hitter. He has been occupying that role mainly from necessity. The Detroit Tigers, until now, have lacked a prototypical leadoff hitter. Granderson has been filling that role because of his speed and explosive extra base hitting capabilities.

The downfall for Granderson has been the unproductive outs; the strikeouts. Through his first three full big league seasons, he has averaged 142 strikeouts per year. Despite that, he has averaged a respectable on base percentage. This year, however, he is only getting on base at a .338 clip.

Ordinarily, you would hope for your leadoff hitter to have an OBP of .370 or higher.

There are better in house candidates to leadoff now. Josh Anderson or Clete Thomas, depending on who is in the lineup on a given day, would be excellent choices to leadoff. Both are fast guys who, with more consistent playing time, could improve their OBP.

This would free up Granderson to move down in the lineup where he is destined to slot in eventually. Personally, I think the leadoff role may be holding him back now.

Just imagine Granderson cleaning up or hitting fifth. With the kind of production he could induce from that part of the lineup, he could become a perennial All-Star.

From the middle of the order he would probably hit 30 HRs, drive in 110 runs, score 100 runs, hit 35 doubles and 10 triples, and probably still steal 25 bases or more.

Granderson has been maturing into this kind of hitter, and he is almost there. I think we can expect those kind of numbers out of him for many seasons to come.

With all of that continues the stellar outfield defense that is getting better and better. Because of this, he will be stamping many more tickets to the mid-summer classic. I think a Gold Glove is right around the corner as well.

It will be very exciting and entertaining to watch the American League Central, to see who is the best center fielder. For years, Granderson has been compared to Grady Sizemore of the Cleveland Indians.

After looking at the career numbers for the both of them, I have to say it is a valid comparison. Sizemore also leads off, and his days in that role are numbered until he moves down in the order as well.

Tiger fans, you have something good. No, you have something great. Actually, it is GRAND. Curtis Granderson, ladies and gentlemen. Perennial All-Star and Gold Glove winner of the future.