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Why Curtis Granderson can have a better season in 2015

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis Granderson had a poor year in 2014, but I think there are a few reasons to believe in a strong increase in production in 2015.

Granderson was a different hitter after a rusty first month

Granderson played in only 61 games in 2013 because of a hand injury, and I think this impacted him in his first month. Granderson hit just .136/.252/.216 with 1 HR and a 43 wRC+ in 103 PA in March/April. From May 1 through the end of the season, Granderson hit .244/.339/.420 with 19 HR and a 120 wRC+ in 559 PA.

Some have called this cherry picking statistics because Granderson had a similarly terrible month in August in terms of production (26 wRC+), but I really don't believe it is accurate to label that in this case. Granderson's K%, swinging strike% and contact% changed dramatically after his first month:

Dates

K%

SwStr%

Contact%

Mar/Apr

28.2%

13.9%

69.0%

May 1-end

20.3%

8.8%

78.4%

To me, that points towards rust and an inability to time up MLB pitching.

And in his horrific August where his wRC+ was an amazing 26, his contact rates remained significantly improved:

Dates

K%

SwStr%

Contact%

Mar/Apr

28.2%

13.9%

69.0%

August

17.4%

7.3%

82.8%

I think it's valid to use those endpoints based on the improvement in K%, swinging strike% and contact%.

The Mets moved the RCF fences in, and Granderson would have had 9 more HR in 2014 with those dimensions

The Mets have altered the right center field outfield walls to increase run scoring. They moved the fences in between 5-10 feet depending on location, and Curtis Granderson would have hit significantly more HR with those dimensions. Marc Carig of Newsday posted this graphic on Twitter:

That would have taken Granderson's home run total from 20 to 29.

The Mets hired Kevin Long, Granderson's old hitting coach with the Yankees, to be the new hitting coach

Kevin Long was given credit for Granderson's explosion in power with the Yankees, including helping Granderson hit LHP more effectively.

Long said of Granderson last week,

We're going back to the blueprint of when he was with the Yankees. There are a couple of minor things that we're working on. One is getting his hands into a consistent position and getting him to feel the consistency that he had, the shortness to the ball, obviously the compact swing that he had, the explosiveness. It's all in there.

2015

I don't think it's insane to suggest that Granderson can hit 30 HR in 2015, between the fences being moved in, a strong May through the end of the season in 2014, and a new/old voice in Kevin Long. I think Granderson will outperform his Yahoo ADP of 248, and if Granderson hits leadoff, which has been discussed, he might steal 15 bases. I have an optimistic outlook, but here's my Granderson projection: .240 AVG, 30 HR, 10 SB.