Facing pressure as being the centerpiece of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ return in their trade of Matt Kemp, Yasmani Grandal had a tremendous first half in 2015, culminating with his first trip to the All-Star Game.
Along with quickly growing comfortable with the Dodgers’ pitching staff, Grandal was strong behind the plate and with the bat, hitting .282/.401/.526 with 14 home runs, 36 RBIs, a .399 wOBA and 159 wRC+ over 69 games (61 starts) in the first half of the season.
At the All-Star break he led all catchers in on-base percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage (.927), and was second in home runs.
But early in the second half he suffered a left-shoulder injury that plagued him for the remainder of the season. Grandal underwent arthroscopic surgery after the Dodgers were eliminated from the National League Division Series by the New York Mets.
Already rehabbing the left shoulder, Grandal said he’s ahead of schedule, according to MLB Network Radio:
#Dodgers Grandal on shoulder: "it's been great, we're ahead of schedule, mobility and strength wise, it's great"
— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) November 19, 2015
With his swing heavily impacted by the bothersome shoulder, Grandal hit a lowly .162/.280/.218 with two home runs and 11 RBIs, and saw his wOBA and wRC+ drop to .237 and 49, respectively. Grandal went through an 0-for-36 stretch at the end of August and into September.
Despite struggling for most of the second half, he still started three of the team’s five postseason games. Though he only managed to go 1-for-10 with two RBIs, six strikeouts and one walk.
Under the expectation Grandal will revert back to his usual form at the plate, Dodgers president of baseball operations called the 27-year-old catcher one of the club’s “wild cards” for the 2016 season.