As soon as the New York Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson, Yankee fans began to speculate on how easy it would be for Granderson to raise his home run totals in the launching pad that is the New Yankee Stadium.
Many who have written on the subject have speculated that Granderson should have little trouble hitting 40 homers with the jet stream flowing to right field in his new home park.
That is the last thing Granderson should try to do.
Those who have observed Granderson's progress in Detroit have noticed that as his power numbers have gone up, his strikeouts have increased and his on-base percentage has gone down.
There is no need for Granderson to be a power hitter in the Yankee lineup.
Jeter and Cano will add 35 dingers without trying to do so.
So Granderson does not need to hit 40 or even 30. He will be much more valuable if he cuts down on the strikeouts and significantly improves his ability to get on base and set the table for the others.
In all likelihood, Granderson will hit seventh in this lineup when Jorge Posada plays. If that proves true, he will be hitting in front of Swisher. If Granderson can get on base, Swisher can become even more important to the success of the team.
Swisher not only hit 29 home runs last year, he also hit 35 doubles.
With Granderson's speed, if he can get on base in front of Swish, he will score more runs than he has ever scored.
In those games when Posada sits, Swisher may move up to the five hole followed by Cano. That leaves Granderson in the seventh spot in the order.
But then he will be followed by Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner.
It can easily be argued that Granderson followed by Cervelli and Gardner makes it even more important for Granderson to improve his ability to get on base.
Gardner has reportedly been working hard in the offseason to perfect his swing. And he has the physical ability to be a better hitter than his .270 average in 2009 showed.
But Gardner had only 400 ABs last season. If you project his numbers over an entire season as a starter, he would have had in excess of 550 ABs. But that means he also would have struck out more than 100 times.
Granderson himself struck out 142 times last year. If Cervelli and Gardner follow Granderson in the order in 40-plus games this season, both Granderson and Gardner need to cut down on their strikeouts. Otherwise the lower third of the order will leave the bases empty too many times as the line-up turns over.
Kevin Long has been successful in working with the Yankee hitters. His goal with Granderson should be to impress upon the outfielder how much value he has with his speed if he can improve his ability to be on base.
This means taking more pitches, working more walks, and not trying to jerk the ball out. If Long is successful in getting Granderson to change his approach, Granderson will have great value in the Yankee batting order.
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