Last night the St. Louis Cardinals announced via the team's website that they were purchasing the contracts of middle infielder Greg Garcia and outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Memphis Redbirds. Second baseman Kolten Wong and outfielder Shane Robinson, both of whom were off to slow starts this year, will be sent down to AAA to try and straighten things out. Here is a scouting report for one of the two new St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 195 lb.
Drafted: 1st round (24th overall) of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Los Angeles Angels out of high school. Subsequently traded to Cardinals with Peter Bourjos as part of trade sending David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Angels.
2013 Statistics: 128 G, 542 PA, 22 Hr, 85 R, 64 RBI, 9 SB, 5.2% BB Rate, 17.0% K Rate, .256 AVG, .306 OBP, .474 SLUG (AA)
2014 Statistics: 21 G, 94 PA, 3 HR, 16 R, 17 RBI, 1 SB, 6.4% BB Rate, 18.1% K Rate, .310 AVG, .351 OBP, .529 SLUG (AAA)
Career Minor League Stats: 454 G, 1949 PA, 1810 AB, 302 R, 517 H, 112 2B, 41 3B, 64 HR, 276 RBI, 36 SB, 17 CS, .286 AVG, .325 OBP, 399 SLUG
Played 297 games in RF, 91 games in CF, 46 games in LF, and 3 games as a DH. had a career .984 fielding percentage in RF, .991 in CF, and .981 in LF.
Grichuk is not ranked as a top 100 prospect by any major publications. .He is listed as the team's #10 prospect by Marc Hulet of fangraphs. Hulet notes that Gruchek has good power, as every scout does, but also notes an overly-aggressive approach which keeps his walk rate too low, his strikeout rate too high, and can lead to a low OBP. The good news for Grichuk is that he seems to have figured out his troubles early this year and has a very respectable .351 OBP.
Grichuk was rated the Cardinals #11 prospect by MLB.com. On a scale of 1-8 (1 being poor, 8 being elite, and a 5 or 6 being very good) that scouting breaks down Grichuk's current/future tools in the following manner: Hit (3/5), Power (4/6), Run (5/5), Arm (5/6), Field (5/6), Overall (4/5).
Viva el Birdos once again provides very thorough, quality analysis. They note, like everyone, that Grichuk has excellent power but "terrible plate discipline." They note that Grichuk features a leg kick which requires proper timing and can leave him off balance and mistimed on breaking pitches.
Defensively Grichuk is considered a very good corner outfielder, winning the Gold Glove of the Texas League in 2013. Grichuk does not have the kind of speed you would like to see for a centerfielder, but VEB notes that he has improved his jumps and routes to be able to play the position better.
Grichuk had the misfortune of being drafted one spot ahead of MVP Mike Trout of the Angels. Grichuk will never be Trout, but he still has the potential to be a solid contributor on the Major League level.
Peter Bourjos is the superior defensive centerfielder, but Bourjos has struggled greatly with the bat to the point that Manager Mike Matheny is playing Jon Jay for every game with a righthanded pitcher. Jay has hit well early, but traditionally gets in offensive funks that lower his numbers, and Jay does not offer the power that Grichuk provides. Allen Craig has also struggled mightily early this season, but the club is unlikely to abandon this early since they just signed him to a 5-year, $43 million extension in March of 2013.
Grichuk will likely be used in the same fashion that Shane Robinson was used, occasionally starting in place of Bourjos and Jay in center and giving Craig a break in rightfield from time to time. Grichuk can also be used as a more potent weapon from the bench than Robinson.
Once again, GM John Mozeliak receives kudos for wisely heeding the advice from my earlier article suggesting Grichuk's promotion.