("Base hits? Groundouts to third? Sorry. Fresh outta those.")
I've been having a bit of fun with the Curtis Granderon "not a home run hitter" theme in the past week or so. I find it amusing that Curtis is still so adamant about NOT being a home run hitter, like it's some kind of pock mark on his statistical profile and reputation. Being known as a guy who produces the best possible offensive outcome when he steps to the plate with great regularity is easily one of the best compliments that you can be given as an offensive player, so it entertains me every time he smacks one, knowing that the topic will come up postgame and I'll get the chance to read his response and chuckle to myself.
If Curtis doesn't want to be labeled as a home run hitter, more power to him. But one trend that is undeniable is his movement towards becoming a much higher "Three True Outcomes" hitter since his well-documented hitting therapy session with Kevin Long in 2010.
This season, C-Grand's TTO rate is a career high 44.84%, on a combined 139 BBs, Ks, and HRs in 310 plate appearances. That rate is up from a previous career high of 42.69% last season (295 TTO/691 OA), which was up from 36.55% (193 TTO/528 PA) in 2010. Over the course of his 2,896 total PA during his tenure with the Detroit Tigers from '04-'09, Curtis' TTO rate was 34.32%, so clearly there has been a shift in something, either approach or skill set or both, that is causing this increase.
It's certainly not a bad thing, and nothing that should be tampered with. Curtis was always a bit of a free swinger and high K rate target because of it going back to his days with the Tigers. The fact that his K rate has been bumped up a bit since joining the Yankees is hardly detrimental to his or the team's offensive success considering his BB and HR numbers have also increased. The work that Kevin Long did to shore up his swing mechanics and the exposure to the "Yankee Way" of patience are both paying tremendous dividends, and the fact that Curtis still has great speed on the basepaths to take advantage of balls in play that don't go over the fence makes him an even more dynamic offensive threat than most.
So whether you want to be a "home run hitter" or not, Curtis, don't change a thing up there at the dish. Keep doing you, dude.