Randal Grichuk: 3 Things You Need to Know About Cardinals' New Prospect

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2013

Feb. 21, 2113; Tempe, AZ, USA: Los Angeles Angels outfielder Randal Grichuk poses for a portrait during photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a deal that will send former World Series MVP David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielder Peter Bourjos and prospect Randal Grichuk.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to break the news:

Obviously, the news of a slumping former elite third baseman changing hands is the highlight of the deal, but an under-the-radar element to watch is the 22-year-old outfielder named Grichuk.

Grichuk hails from Rosenberg, Texas. A surprise selection at No. 24 overall by the Angles in the 2009 MLB draft, Grichuk thus far is simply known as the player taken one spot ahead of Mike Trout.

What many don't realize is simple—Grichuk is far from a bust and has all the intangibles of a stellar pro if he can stay healthy.

Here are three things Cardinals fans must know about their shiny new prospect.

Injury History is Shaky

The comparisons to Trout for Grichuk are unfair at face value because both men went to the same team anyway.

Grichuk can't help the fact the Angles went with Trout, but a strange rash of injuries to begin his pro career didn't help things in the eyes of fans—especially as he could only watch from the dugout as Trout exploded in the majors.

Per of the Angels' website, Grichuk played in just 117 games his first two years as a pro. First he tore a ligament after 12 games in 2010. Shortly after his return, Grichuk broke his wrist diving for a ball.

Finally, Grichuk suffered a freakish fractured kneecap after he fouled a ball off his leg that derailed his 2011 season. Other minor issues contributed to his delay in development.

Grichuk has since managed to avoid the injury bug, and the results have been fantastic.

Batting Efficiency Not so Fantastic

Grichuk spent his 2012 season with Class A Inland Empire in 2012. He managed to stay healthy and appeared in a career-high 135 games.

The numbers speak for themselves:

Randal Grichuk's 2012 Output

Grichuk wouldn't match his appearance totals in 2013 with Double-A Arkansas, but he came close with 128 games:

Randal Grichuk's 2013 Output

Clearly the in-game power for Grichuk is there. With two full seasons of appearances under his belt to take pitches and gain experience, Grichuk is on the upswing of his career.

Remember, he's still just 22 years old.

Untapped Potential

The above equates to one thing—a young player with a long career ahead of him as a pro should he have both a quality opportunity and a bit of luck in the health department.

The Angels knew this. It's exactly why they added Grichuk to the 40-man roster earlier in the week to make him exempt in December's Rule 5 Draft and dangle him as trade bait.

Not only does Grichuk tout quality power as a hitter—he's a force defensively with a career .985 fielding percentage, and he recently won a Rawlings Gold Glove award per the Angels' Twitter account:

Grichuk is a sound prospect all around who will have an impact on the pros sooner rather than later. Even better, he sounds more than ready to start his journey with the Cardinals:

Fans must keep a watchful eye on their promising prospect. Grichuk has the tools to make an impact upon arrival.

Note: All relevant info courtesy of baseball-reference.com unless otherwise noted.


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