Yankees 2011 Season in Review: Curtis Granderson

The Yankees have been looking for an everyday center fielder even before Bernie Williams retired and they found their man Curtis Granderson after the 2009 season.

EXPECTATIONS: Yankees fans were a bit disappointed after Grandy’s 2010 season where he had a .324 OBP and .792 OPS. However, he finished that year with a .360 OBP and .963 OPS over his final 20 games after a swing correction. That gave fans a reason to be optimistic in hopes that he would finally start fulfilling the great potential he showed in Detroit.

LEFTY MASHER: One of the biggest criticisms of C-Grand before he became a Yankee was that he couldn’t hit lefties. That was true for most of the 2010 season, but in 2011 he turned himself into one of the best hitters in the game against southpaws. In 219 plate appearances against them last year he had a .347 OBP and a .944 OPS.

DEFENSIVE DEBATE: Granderson looks very flashy in the outfield and certainly passes the eye-test defensively, but the defensive metrics don’t back that up. His UZR last year was -5.1. This sparked quite a debate. Some said that a handful of blunders brought that number down and others claimed that Brett Gardner is so good in left that he was taking opportunities away from him. It’s hard to say who is right, but the Yankees claim they have their own metrics that prove G-Unit is off the charts.

MVP CANDIDATE: Grandy was out of this world in 2011 as he had a .364 OPS, a .916 OPS, scored a league leading 136 runs, and added 25 stolen bases to that total.

VERDICT: Granderson might not have won the MVP, but it was about as good a season as a player could have without winning one. He is a true All-Star playing in the prime of his career. People expect the big names of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira to lead the Yankees offensively, but realistically it is Granderson and Robinson Cano who have taken over this team.

GOING FORWARD: Granderson’s top-5 finish in the MVP race kicked in a clause that increased his 2013 club option from $13 million to $15 million. However the Yankees will not hesistate to exercise that option, keeping him in Pinstripes for at least the next two years and probably beyond that.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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