Yasmani Grandal, I hereby dub thee The Magic Man. Now you see me, now you don’t.
Raise your hand if you were one of the many who wasted valuable FAAB dollars and waiver priority to grab Grandal when word broke that he would be called-up to San Diego on Friday. As a Nick Hundley owner in a few two-catcher leagues, I certainly did. The 23-year old, Cuban-born backstop is supposed to be able to hit for both power and average and should eventually take over the starting job, possibly as early as this season, so when the news came out that he was on his way, the prudent thing to do was grab him.
Unfortunately though, in a very Scioscia-like fashion, manager Bud Black chose not to play Grandal over the weekend at all (save for one plate appearance) and before you could even blink, he was sent back down to the minors. What the…? Was that really a necessary move? As far as I knew, Hundley was healthy and able to play, as was John Baker. What was the purpose of bringing up Grandal for two days of benchwarming? Maybe he’s ready, maybe he’s not, but if you want to test those waters, then you have to atleast play the guy.
Perhaps he was simply brought up to light a fire under Hundley who has started off this season in horrendous fashion, batting just .162 through the first 40-plus games. Most speculated that Hundley’s two-year contract was to either lock him in as a mentor given the fact that he is an above-average defender or to make him a little more trade friendly once Grandal proved he was ready for the show. Either way, the Padres need him to get going and perhaps they thought this would kick start things. It didn’t.
So now the question is, what do we as fantasy owners do with Grandal? Most expect him to come up at some point this season, but when and for how much playing time still remain in question. If it’s a re-draft league, then you can simply let him go back into the player pool. Unless you have really deep benches, there’s not going to be enough production worth a roster spot and that lengthy of a stash. Petco is still going to sap his power and with the question of playing time, it’s not clear whether he’ll get enough work that a solid batting average will help you all that much.
Keeper league owners should definitely stash him away for now. Between the raw talent, the quality play in the minors, and the impending opportunity, he’ll be playing in a full-time role sooner than later. It might not be this year, but there should definitely be an impact in 2013.
But what to do with your immediate catcher situation? What if you’re sitting with Hundley and now without Grandal?
Well, if you were one of those that got fooled into picking up Grandal and you still need a catcher, keep an eye out for Kansas City’s Salvador Perez who will be returning from the disabled list, possibly as early as late next week. He’s been catching games in extended spring training and is expected to go on a rehab assignment this coming weekend. Built in the mold of a Yadier Molina-like player, Perez should hit for a decent average and maybe throw in a little bit of pop early on. His walk rate isn’t very strong, but he makes excellent contact at the plate and should be on-base enough to help you in both batting average and runs scored. If you’re struggling for production from behind the dish, then he’s definitely worth a look.