Curtis Granderson Proves Worth It for the New York Yankees

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Curtis Granderson Proves Worth It for the New York Yankees
Curtis Granderson has dominated lefties since tweaking his swing (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Curtis Granderson is good at baseball.

This much we already knew. It’s why the Yankees gave up Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy to get him before the start of the 2010 season.

But this good?

Not even Yankee brass, who made the trade knowing Granderson would be a great fit in center field and that his bat was tailor-made for the new Yankee Stadium, expected this type of season.

And they definitely didn’t see this coming last season when Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy both performed well out of the gate for their new ball clubs while Granderson struggled. On May 30th 2010, Austin Jackson was hitting .330 as the leadoff batter for the Tigers while Ian Kennedy had three wins, 57 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA for Arizona. Meanwhile, Granderson was hitting a meager .239 and had played just five games in May due to an injury.

It didn't look good. It looked like the Yankees trading prospects for veterans once again, opting not to build from within. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails miserably for New York, for example, when that veteran is named Javier Vazquez. Granderson has proven he is no Javier Vazquez. It all changed last August when he unveiled a new swing after working with hitting coach Kevin Long and promptly hit 14 of his 24 home runs after August 13th.

Hitting against lefties became a strength instead of a weakness. After 466 at-bats in 2011, his batting average is .278 versus right-handed pitchers and .281 versus left-handed pitchers, and he’s smashed 13 of his 35 home runs off lefties in just 153 at-bats.

With 115 runs as of August 24th, Granderson leads all others by 24 (last season's runs leader, Albert Pujols, finished with 115 and six guys were within five runs of him). He has 98 RBI to lead the AL, 35 home runs, 10 triples and 24 stolen bases. His 35th home run on August 21st was of the inside the park variety, you know, just for fun. His StatSheet StatRank is 96.3, good for fourth in baseball behind Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp.

2011 MLB Player Leaders for Runs

R Player Team HR RBI SB 3B
115 Curtis Granderson New York Yankees 35 98 24 10
91 Jose Bautista Toronto Blue Jays 36 80 6 2
90 Jacoby Ellsbury Boston Red Sox 22 79 34 3
90 Ryan Braun Milwaukee Brewers 25 85 28 4
88 Ian Kinsler Texas Rangers 21 59 21 4

SS Last updated by StatSheet on 2011-08-24

I don’t know what they are saying in the Yankees front office about him, but I bet I can sum it up with one word.

Boom.

As for the guys the Yankees traded away for him (Jackson, Coke and Kennedy), does it really even matter? I could list their stats and discuss who is struggling and who is doing well, but why? The bottom line is, Curtis Granderson was worth it for the New York Yankees.

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