Curtis Granderson, a hitter with multiple personalities
It’s not often a player exists on a roster who is capable of embracing multiple roles on any given day.
Typically, hitters are what they are. For instance, Yoenis Cespedes is a free-swinging power hitter capable of carrying a team on his shoulders for stretches at a time. But he would probably struggle as a leadoff hitter, considering he is hardly the most patient hitter in the game.
There’s Daniel Murphy, who is an excellent pure hitter who drives the ball in the gap. But like Cespedes, he struggles to get on-base at a high rate, especially when he’s on one of his cold streaks.
But then there’s Curtis Granderson, who epitomizes the multiple-personality hitter.
For it was Granderson’s two-run home run – after Bartolo Colon prolonged the fifth inning with a single – which extended the Mets lead to 3-0 to provide the Mets with some much needed breathing room in order to secure their 73rd win of the season.
Granderson also drew a walk, once again showing off his stubborn patience to battle through counts and work out walks with regularity. He now has 69 walks on the year, helping to pad his .355 on-base percentage, his highest mark since 2011.
It takes a certain kind of discipline to be this kind of player, as he knows when it’s time to be a table setter, and then he knows when it’s time to power up to be a run producer.
But he’s been able to do that at a high level throughout the season, as Granderson has hit at least one home run and drawn at least one walk nine different times in 2015. It’s a testament to his understanding of the game and the moment he is in, not letting his ego get in the way when the team needs a rally, and stepping it up to be a run producing difference maker when the time is right, as it was when he came up in the fifth inning on Monday.
There’s been a lot of talk all year about moving Granderson out from the leadoff spot and into a more run producing slot in the everyday lineup. But each time the question is posed, Terry Collins’ answer is that there’s simply nobody else who fits into the leadoff spot like Granderson.
For the Mets, he’s re-defined the leadoff role with a combination of power and an ability to get on-base. Why fix what isn’t broken, especially since the team is winning with this formula?
He’s been so incredibly consistent for most of this season, and certainly the most even presence in the lineup since the start of the season. This certainly isn’t the role the Mets envisioned Granderson would be in when they signed him to a four-year, $60 million deal in December, 2013, but he has evolved as a hitter in a pitcher’s league, embraced his role and found a way to live up to the contract, albeit in an unconventional manner.