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Be Greedy with Grichuk

Grichuk, a popular sleeper coming into this season, did nothing but disappointed his owners. Leave your angers behind. He is back on the Major League, and he should be back on your roster, too.

Welcome back to the Show, and to our lives.
Welcome back to the Show, and to our lives.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Grichuk was one of the most decorated teenage baseball players in Texas even before he became a Major Leaguer. He was a star of Little League World Series, and after hitting .613 with 21 HR in 28 games as a high school senior, he was selected on the 1st Team All-American. To stop him from taking the University of Arizona's scholarship offer, the Angels used their first round pick and $1.2 million to sign this 17-year-old boy.

You would think a phenom like him should go off to a quick start in the pro, but somehow he couldn't avoid a series of injuries, which kept him from sailing through the Minor League system. The Angels eventually lost their patience, and traded him for David Freese (The trade happened after the injury-prone infielder had missed 24 games and hit underwhelming .262/.321/.381 for his age-30 season).

The slugger's talent didn't take long the impress the Cardinals personnel, and he was called up on the same season. In 2015, he started the season as a bench member, but he didn't miss the opportunity when Matt Holiday was sidelined. He quickly emerged as one of the exciting young outfielders, but his .276/.329/.548 campaign was shortened due to an elbow injury.

This year, the story isn't too different.  He didn't make his usual DL trip yet, but he suffered a minor back injury, and he was sent to the Minors due to his struggles. He was drafted as a 17-year-old boy, but at age 25, he is still not even a full-time Major League hitter.

Everybody agrees here that he has a massive power potential along with a reasonable speed to reach double digits in SB. His flyball-oriented swing won't let his BA to go too high, but he is a legit 25 HR and 10 SB threat.

A lot of people are probably appalled by his abysmal .221/.281/.438 slash at this point, and he currently doesn't have a firm everyday role with the Cardinals. Nevertheless, even with all the struggles, he actually cut down his swings and misses, which led to an improvement in his K-BB number this year. This is a typical stride for a good sophomore hitter as they get used to the big league pitching, and it's a good indication of his progress towards a potential All-Star.

Before he was optioned down in June, he was struggling to raise his BABIP (.238), and his ISO was disappointing .186. Although he was never listed on the DL, however, we have to take into account that he was playing through a back injury in the early season. When he was sent down, he immediately crushed the triple-A pitching (.272/.302/.568), and now since his July call-up, his Major League slash looks very healthy (.260/.296/.558), and most importantly, he raised his BABIP back up to .341, which is pretty close to his last season's number (.365).

Obviously we can't be sure how long this kid can swing as hard as he wants. His colorful injury history is certainly something to be aware of. The good news is that his service costs nothing in most leagues (Yahoo! 23% owned). He may not be on the field every day initially, but the Cardinals desperately need someone to play CF (they are apparently considering Carlos Gomez), and he is the best option they have at this point. He finally got another shot with another Matt Holiday injury, and he has enough talent to run away with the job.

I understand that trendy outfield pickup as of late is Aaron Judge. A shiny new toy who is already making headlines in Bronx is certainly irresistible. We have to note, however, that Judge's Triple-A slash (.270/.366/.489) isn't any better than Grichuk's (.272/.302/.568) this season, and Judge is very unlikely to help your SB column. If you missed out on Judge, don't fret about it, since you now have an opportunity to make a smarter pickup. As long as Grichuk is healthy and swing with his full potential, he is the same guy from the last year whom we fell in love with, and he can deliver great numbers for your fantasy team down the stretch.

Steamer Rest of the Season Projection

PA

HR

RBI

R

AVG

SB

120

5

16

13

0.245

1