The drive from St. Louis to his home in Texas is about fourteen hours–plenty of time for the Cardinals’ Randal Grichuk to look back on his 2016 season.
“I’ll look at it that I finished on a high note and that’s good,” answered Grichuk, who dialed into the latest edition of St. Louis Baseball Weekly from the road. “Hopefully, try not to dwell too much on the negatives and try to take away some positives from the year to build off for next season. Obviously, not the year I wanted but like I said, ended on a high note.”
Overall, the 25-year old outfielder finished with 24 HRs and 68 RBIs–both career highs–in only 446 at-bats.
“Yeah, ironically, I feel like this year definitely didn’t go my way–I felt like it was not a great year,” said Grichuk, who hasn’t had a chance yet to sit down and look at all his numbers. “I kind of saw them here and there throughout the last couple of games. I feel like where my numbers were at the end of the year, it wasn’t a complete waste of a year. It was not where I wanted it to be, but definitely better than I thought it would be after the first few months of the season.”
So just what could Randal Grichuk do at the plate if he were to have 600 at-bats in a season?
“That’s one of the good things, the positives that I take away,” he said. “Numbers being at where they’re at, obviously the average and on-base percentage probably not where I want them to be, but RBIs, home runs, runs scored–stuff like that ended at a pretty good number considering that I didn’t have, 150 at-bats short of a full season.
“Last year, we were playing that guessing game on what you think I could do with a full season and I guess we’ll still play that guessing game this off-season as well.”
What will also be in question is which position Grichuk will play in 2017–remain in centerfield or move over to left. General Manager John Mozeliak stated that is the first domino which must fall for the Cardinals to piece together the rest of their off-season strategy.
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” said Grichuk. “Obviously, whichever way the team feels is best for the team, I’m happy with. Anybody just wants to be able to play, so I’ll still be in the lineup in left or center so whatever the team feels is best for them moving forward, I’m on board with.”
According to the Range Factor per Nine Innings rating on BaseballReference.com, Grichuk checked in at 2.17. The National League average for centerfield was 2.39. In left field, he was above the 1.80 average at 2.33.
“I think I had a pretty good year defensively,” said Grichuk. “There’s definitely some plays I would like to get back and re-do or replay, but I felt like I had a lot of good plays out there. I feel like anybody’s going to make mistakes if you’re out there everyday playing and I felt like it was a pretty good year defensively, but like I said, yeah, there’s a couple that I wish I could take back.”
One factor that may have been overlooked and should be improved upon for 2017 is the lack of off-season training Grichuk had last year–specifically, his speed work due to surgery for a sports hernia.
“Really looking forward to getting back home to get after the speed work,” said Grichuk. “Cutting the corners on the bases and also first steps, getting a good jump in the outfield–I think it would help big time there too.”
His off-season work will also include “ironing out his swing” and a throwing program to strengthen his arm further.
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