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Fantasy Baseball Profile: Curtis Granderson

Granderson Made for New Yankee Stadium

Curtis Granderson, acquired from the Tigers in a three team trade in December, projects to a much bigger season in 2010 in the friendly confines of The Bronx.

Take a look at Fangraphs to see where Granderson hits the ball and you’ll be moving him up in your 2010 outfield

Granderson should enjoy a record year for homers in 2010.

Granderson should enjoy a record year for homers in 2010.

projections.  Granderson is a dead pull left-handed hitter and he will LOVE his new home; its ideally suited for his power.  Granderson is already dreaming about the 314′ right field line and the 360′ right-center power alley.

Yankees’ hitting coach Kevin Long can’t wait to get a hold on Granderson.  Speaking at a recent baseball coaches convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Long said that he plans on working with Granderson to “don’t even think about going the other way.  Our park is just so right field friendly.”

Not So Grand Versus Lefties

Granderson struggles against left handed pitchers.  He hit just .183 versus southpaws last year and is only .210 lifetime against lefties.  “He coils in verus left handed pitchers,” said Long.  “We need him to open up, don’t go the other way.”

If the Yankees decide he can’t hit left-handers, they don’t have a lot of options, at least at this point.  The lone right-handed hitter on the bench is likely Dodgers Rule 5 castoff Jamie Hoffman who had just 22 at bats in LA last year.  Unless the Yankees pick up another veteran outfielder, at this point, it looks like Granderson is going to have to learn to hit southpaws.

Lineup Dilemma

Where Granderson hits in the lineup remains a mystery due to Johnny Damon’s status.  If Damon goes elsewhere, the

Granderson strikingly good in pinstripes.

Granderson strikingly good in pinstripes.

likely spot for Granderson will probably be in the two spot, although he’s not ideal in that spot due to a high strikeout tendency.  He struck out 141 times last year, same as in 2007, but less than the whopping 174 K’s Granderson had in 2006.  Perhaps, Robinson Cano is a better choice for the two hole or, of course, Damon, if he returns.

We see Granderson as a strong # 5 hitter offering protection to A-Rod.  That spot would probably be best for Granderson’s fantasy baseball stats in 2010.  It would help his RBI totals and he’d probably get more chances to run in the 5 hole.

Granderson 2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

The Yankees need to stop Granderson’s three year decline in batting average.  Granderson has dropped from .302 in ’07 to .280 in ’08 and a disappointing .249 last year.  It would make sense that playing on a Yankees team with so many heavy hitters can help his average.

Fly balls that don’t end up in the seats usually mean outs in the Majors.  And, that’s exactly what Granderson’s issue was in 2009.  Granderson’s fly ball percentage went from 40.7% in 08 to 49.3% last season.  Long needs to cut down on that fly ball average and also eliminate some of those 30 more whiffs that Granderson had in 2009 than in 2008.

Curtis Granderson has outstanding ability.  He’s a player who had 20 doubles, triples, homeruns, and stolen bases in 2007.  Granderson was the first player to do that since 1957 when a guy named Willie Mays did it.  The Cubs Frank Schulte was the first to do it in 1911, thus making Granderson just the third player in the history of MLB to join this elite club.  Ironically, Jimmy Rollins accomplished the fete just two weeks later in the 2007 season.

Fantasy Baseball Dugout’s projections for 2010 show Granderson hitting # 5 and increasing his average slightly to .260.  It’s his home run total that we are excited about; expect Granderson to clout 35 with 95 RBI and 30 stolen bases.  Strikeouts will still be his achilles heal, but they don’t normally matter in fantasy baseball anyway.

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