This just in: Curtis Granderson can't hit left-handed pitching

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Curtis Granderson has been a huge disappointment in his first season with the Yankees, posting career-lows in batting average (.240), on-base percentage (.307), and slugging percentage (.417).
What’s interesting about Granderson’s career-worst production is that his numbers against right-handed pitching (.259/.339/.492) are only about six percent worse than his career mark. The bigger difference has been his total inability to hit left-handed pitching while getting more playing time against southpaws than ever before.
Granderson has never handled lefties well, hitting just .210/.267/.336 against them for his career, but after going 0-for-3 versus Jon Lester yesterday–including a strikeout with the bases loaded in the seventh inning–he’s now batting just .206/.243/.275 off southpaws this season.
That represents a 15 percent drop in production, which is compounded by the fact that Granderson has already racked up 110 plate appearances versus lefties. So far this year 33 percent of his trips to the plate have come versus lefties, compared to 23 percent prior to this season.
In moving to the AL East he’s facing far more lefties than ever before and Joe Girardi has been far less willing to bench him against lefties than Jim Leyland was in Detroit. Granderson is 29 years old and has 800 career plate appearances of a sub-.600 OPS versus lefties. For a team with the Yankees’ record and resources he has no business being in the lineup against them at this point. Finding him a platoon partner shouldn’t be that hard.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.