Does this sound familiar? A 30 year old outfielder, who made his ML debut back in 2004... reinventing himself in mid-career?
We're talking, of course, about the guy who ruined Jesse Litsch's day yesterday afternoon.
[Since] hitting coach Kevin Long's renowned August intervention last season... Granderson is not only the best player in the trade by a long shot, he is one of the elite power hitters in the game.
What did they do, anyway? As reported last August....
Hitting coach Kevin Long said that Granderson reported before Tuesday's game for a "very detailed hitting session" in which Long was able to pick apart several components of Granderson's swing and offer new suggestions. "I think you're going to see a little different look," Long said. "A little shorter to the baseball-type look. You've got some moving stuff with his hands, with his load. He's got some movement forward. We're going to try to address those."
Granderson wasn't in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Rangers in Arlington, despite good career numbers (12-for-40, .300) against Cliff Lee. The alterations to Granderson's swing have been so notable, Long wants to offer one more day for them to marinate. "Everything I've done up to this point is trying to get to the point I'm trying to get to, and there's a couple of moving parts," Granderson said. "We're just trying to eliminate some of those moving parts to get to the balance point every hitter is trying to get to, in strong balanced position ready to attack the baseball." In short, Long wants to make Granderson's swing as short and compact as possible, correcting a lengthy swing that Granderson has been successful with in the past but may have now run its course.
Here's what Granderson did last season after the "intervention." He hit .261/.356/.564 - and he hit 14 HRs in just 48 games.
And of course only one man in the AL has more home runs this season - that would be last year's Jose Bautista. The original. Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki are the only hitters in the major leagues with more homers than Granderson since August 12 of last year.
Part of the conventional wisdom about Bautista, prior to last season, was that while he might be a productive hitter with the platoon advantage, he was helpless against his own kind. The new model Bautista blew that notion out of the water in 2010 and Granderson needs to do the same thing. After all, he came into this season with a career line of .217/.275/.358 against LHP, with 23 HRs in 802 ABs.
So how's he doing with that?
So far, so good. He's only had 25 ABs against southpaws, but he's hitting .280 - and he's hit 3 of his 8 HRs against LH pitchers.