The back-and-forth center fielder for the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals has much to prove and is doing just that since his return to the majors and since he is finally forced to play every day.
Having joined the St. Louis Cardinals in November of 2013 along with no-longer-Cardinal Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk became a Cardinal at the cost of David Freese and Fernando Salas. Grichuk, at the time, wasn’t the name in the spotlight of this trade as Bourjos was the name of interest. Since then, things have completely changed.
Let’s take a look at Grichuk’s history with the St. Louis Cardinals. After being acquired, Grichuk spent 2014 bouncing back and forth between St. Louis and Memphis. Grichuk started the 2014 campaign with Memphis but was called to St. Louis in April. On May 9, however, he was again sent to Memphis but called back to St. Louis on May 30.
He didn’t stay with St. Louis for long as he was sent to Memphis again on June 15 where he remained until August 26 when he was called to the St. Louis Cardinals for the remainder of the 2014 season.
2015 was a season in which Grichuk occupied a spot on the major roster, not bouncing to Memphis, but absent at times due to injury. First, a lower back strain sent him to the DL in April, then an elbow strain sidelined this slugger in August.
Grichuk broke camp following spring training headed directly to the St. Louis Cardinals. His spring numbers were respectable with an offensive line of .304/.360/.565. His spring fielding percentage ended at .957 in center and when playing multiple outfield spots in a single game.
The spring numbers did not reside for long as Grichuk’s numbers faultered early in 2016 and he was sent to Memphis on June 18. Less than a month later, after providing pop and power to Memphis, Grichuk rode the I-55 shuttle back to St. Louis on July 5.
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This wasn’t lasting, however, as Grichuk was again sent to Memphis on August 2 but stayed there only briefly until his recall on August 11. Since this final recall, Grichuk- now playing almost every day- has found a bit of magic.
Since his August 11 recall, Grichuk has gone 7-for-21 for a .333 average. In these at-bats, he has slammed four doubles, one triple, and two home runs. These hits have helped him raise his major league slash line to .225/.283/.733. While not stellar, perhaps these are on the upward slope.
But, is this the real Grichuk? Will the real Grichuk please stand up? I ask this since his year has been back and forth and at times saw his slash line dip as low as .067/.067/.067. Can he sustain this recent success?
Maybe more reliable questions would be whether this success is due to work done at Memphis, having to play every day, or a combination of both? Either way, let us hope that the birthday-bashing-grand-slam-boy continues to prowl the center field and continues to increase his slash line since the St. Louis Cardinals could really use this down the stretch.
If Grichuk starts to falter again, will Tommy Pham be a good solution or would someone like Carlos Gomez fit? Stay with us as we continue our 2016 St. Louis Cardinals player spotlights to learn more about our players going into the home stretch.