Grichuk is pronounced GRITCH-ick.
In 2004, Grichuk was just 13 years old when he and his teammates from the Richmond, Texas, Little League team were being shown around the Astros clubhouse, fresh from finishing third in the Little League World Series. They were introduced to Craig Biggio, who was sitting at his locker in the center of the oval-shaped room. (Randal hit a tournament-high four home runs.)
Randal, short on shyness, asked Biggio why there was an open locker between Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. In truth, it was a tribute to the two pillars of the Astros organization, giving them a little extra space.
"That's yours someday," answered Biggio, making Grichuk feel as if he had just hit a grand slam. Before the players left the clubhouse, Bagwell, Grichuk's hero, appeared from around a corner.
"So who's the kid who bats like me?" asked Bagwell.
"I do," said Grichuk, raising his right hand. "He shook my hand and introduced himself. Then he started talking to the whole team. That was pretty neat. I'll remember that to the day I die."
As long as Randal can remember, he and his father, George, watched the Astros on TV from their home in Rosenberg, Texas, 20 miles southwest of Houston. Bagwell became Randal Grichuk's favorite.
"He has a lot of power," the younger Grichuk said admiringly. "I took his batting stance. Everything is Bagwell for me. That was so sad for me when he had to quit because of the injury."
In 2009, Grichuk's senior year at Lamar Consolidated High (Rosenberg, Texas), he hit 15 homers in 71 at-bats and stole 21 bases. Then he accepted a scholarship with the University of Arizona.
But instead of college, he signed with the Angels for a bonus of $1.24 million after they drafted him in the first round, the 24th overall pick. Kevin Ham is the scout who signed him.
The very next pick in the draft was Mike Trout, by the Angels. So, Randal is "the Dude Who Was Drafted Right Before Mike Trout."
- In his pro debut in 2009, the summer after finishing high school, Randal led the Arizona League with 76 hits and 11 triples and ranked second with 30 extra-base hits and 55 RBIs.
In the spring of 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Grichuk as the 7th-best prospect in the Angels farm system in spring, 2010. He was at #12 in the winter before 2011 spring training. They had Randal at #17 in the spring of 2012; then they moved him to #6 in the offseason before 2013 spring camps opened. Before 2014 spring training, he was rated #10.
In the spring of 2015, he was moved up to 4th-best in the Cardinals' farm system.
- Randal has a real passion for the game. He hustles and plays the game hard.
- Grichuk is coachable and works at improving his game.
Grichuk actually got his taste of fame early in life. He and his Lamar National teammates played in the Little League World Series in 2003 and 2004, when Grichuk was 11 and 12 years old, respectively. He has been involved in high-level baseball competition since.
Grichuk suffered some serious injuries. He has had a torn ligament, a fractured kneecap, and a broken wrist. Grichuk recovered through two injury-shortened seasons, but the past couple years have been more complete and productive. Fully recovered, he got 575 plate appearances in 2012 at Class A Advanced Inland Empire and 542 plate appearances at Double-A Arkansas in 2013.
Randal made his MLB debut on April 28 at age 22. A good athlete, he has improved markedly since being selected by the Angels.
People really like his his baseball instincts. He knows how to get the most from his skill and doesn't go beyond his own comfort zone. (Pleskoff - mlb.com - 5/13/14)
- June 2009: The Angels chose Grichuk in the first round, out of Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg, Texas.
- November 22, 2013: The Cardinals traded David Freese and RHP Fernando Salas to the Angels for CF Peter Bourjos and Grichuk.
|DOB:||8/13/1991||Agent:||SFX (Tom Little)|
|Draft:||Angels #1 - 2009 - Out of high school (TX)|
Grichuk has good home run power. He has strong wrists and hands, good bat speed, and a leveraged swing that makes him a real masher. He has both pull power and impressive power to the opposite field. So he hits to both gaps. His bat is easily his best tool.
"Randal is a unique player,” Cardinals G.M. John Mozeliak said. “He probably has the largest (spectrum) of what you might see from the talent and performance standpoint. The sky’s the limit."
Randal does not have the prettiest righthanded stroke, but his strong hands and bat speed should allow him to hit for a solid average most every year, now that he has adjusted his pull-oriented approach. He now uses the entire field and has power to both gaps.
In 2012, Grichuk made adjustments with his set-up, widening his base and quieting his hands. He wraps his bat, which adds length to his stroke, but he has good hands and accelerates the barrel into contact well.
"I'm just trying to get the bat head to the ball and square up pitches, and actually tried having a better feel for the zone and not chasing too much," Ramdal said.
- He hits breaking balls when he maintains a gap-to-gap approach, but he's vulnerable to them when he flies open with his swing. He shows enough balance and bat control to hit .260 or .270 in the big leagues. And he should hit 20-25 home runs per season.
- Grichuk strikes out a whole lot more than he walks. To hit for average, Randal will have to improve his plate discipline and pitch recognition.
- He'll continue to see a steady diet of breaking balls until he proves he can hit them. And he is improving at recognizing them. Some scouts question whether Grichuk has the skills to develop into a Major League hitter.
“His grooved swing doesn’t allow him to make many adjustments to secondary (pitches), and higher level pitching will expose that,” a National League scout said in 2012.
Scouts also point out Grichuk’s tendency to try to pull everything to the left side.
Randal has some lightning hands that anyone would get excited about. For Grichuk, it’s just a matter of getting his balance and getting his body in position to adjust.
The ball just flies off Grichuk's bat. He looks far more engaged in his at-bats, showing much more awareness of his own mechanics and in the way pitchers try to get him out. There is much more life and energy to his game.
Grichuk's best tool is his raw power. He has the ability to clobber fastballs. In fact, Grichuk is very selective at the plate and isn't afraid to wait for a pitch he can drive, passing on sliders out of his comfort zone.
Not strictly a pull hitter, Grichuk has enough bat speed through the ball to generate back spin and loft on his long drives to all fields.
An aggressive hitter, Grichuk has busy hands at the plate. If he could steady his hand movement and shorten his swing a bit, his hitting results would likely improve. Grichuk has good plate coverage, but he does swing and miss a bit. He probably won't be a high-average hitter, but rather a steady and reliable source of power and run production. (Pleskoff - mlb.com - 5/13/14)
After 1,949 total plate appearances covering parts of six seasons, Grichuk has a .286 career Minor League batting average and 64 home runs.
July 24, 2015: It's unlikely that Grichuk will end up receiving strong consideration for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, not in a season when the likes of Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson have ascended to the Majors. An absence of national consideration, however, should not overshadow the local punch he's providing.
"He has it all," manager Mike Matheny said afterward. "One of the greatest things we like seeing is he's hungry, not just to learn on the mental side, but you see him in there working constantly. He's working on his swing. He's working to stay strong. It's just trying to figure out what kind of routine he's going to have to allow himself to play every day."
"I feel like I get in my head a little too much and that causes me to do stuff at the plate that I don't want to do," said Grichuk. "I was going up there today wanting to be aggressive in the strike zone. I got two pitches that I thought I could handle, and I swung at them."
"It's all about approach for Randal," Matheny said. "If he has an idea and waits and gets the pitch that he's looking for, he can mis-hit a ball and it's still going to leave the park. He's learning the league. He's learning himself better. Just here recently, I think some things are really starting to click for him because you're seeing the consistent at-bats." (J Langosch - MLB.com - July 25, 2015)
In 2016, Grichuk posted the Majors' fifth-highest exit velocity, with a 94.5 mph average on balls that left his bat—ahead of such young mashers as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper—according to Statcast.
As of the start of the 2017 season, Grichuk had a career batting average of .254 with 44 home runs and 123 RBI in 879 at-bats.
Randal has enough arm to play some right field. His throws are accurate. He gets good carry and backspin when he throws the ball.
And he has about enough speed to play center field.
Improved throwing mechanics allow him to play right field. He is an exceptional athlete and his agility gives him center field skills.
- Grichuk is tall and lanky, he has an outstanding frame, at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds. Grichuk is skillful as an outfielder, but can also succeed as a first baseman if necessary.
Grichuk's passion for the game allow his defensive skills to play up.
Playing center field is about getting good jumps and taking good routes to the ball, and Randal does that. But he is best used on one of the two outfield corners.
Randal has average range. He has worked very hard.
"I came out early for my first spring training and worked with Eric Owens, our outfield rover,” Grichuk said in November 2012. “We worked on having arm accuracy, arm strength, and footwork in the outfield. That helped me and I’ve been doing little drills like that.”
In 2013, Grichuk won a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove award.
- Grichuk can make all the plays by quickly reading balls off the bat, showing good range and direct routes. And Grichuk has the arm strength and speed to play all three positions in the outfield.
May 13, 2016: Randal Grichuk was still stewing about the Albert Pujols home run that nicked off his glove in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' game at Angel Stadium the night before. Though the blast was inconsequential in the outcome, it was a homer Grichuk believed he should have robbed.
"Those are the ones you dream of," he told his dad, in town to watch his son play in both portions of the Cardinals' Southern California stay. As dads are apt to do, George Grichuk encouraged him to let it go. "Oh, you'll get plenty more," he insisted.The comment drew a chuckle from his son.
"Dad, you don't understand," Randal Grichuk replied. "Those plays don't come by often."
Next time, however, a chance at redemption did. With his dad sitting in the stands for the series opener at Dodger Stadium, Grichuk opened the bottom of the first by bringing back what would have been a Howie Kendrick leadoff homer with a well-time leaped at the center-field wall. It was a defensive highlight in an otherwise forgettable defensive night for the Cardinals and helped starter Michael Wacha to a 1-2-3 opening inning.
"I knew I'd have a chance to make a play close to the wall, and it carried a little bit more than I thought," Grichuk said, following an 8-4 loss to the Dodgers. "Luckily, this time I was able to go up and make a play."
"I saw he almost got Albert last night," Kendrick said. "Grichuk's a great dude. I played with him in Anaheim. Tell him I owe him one for that catch." (J Langosch - MLB.com - May 14, 2016)
- Randal has about average speed, but does not really look that comfortable when running the bases.
- May 2010: Grichuk was on the D.L. for well over a month with a torn ligament in his left thumb.
- September 2010: Randal broke a bone in his left wrist while bracing his hand against the outfield wall to make a defensive play.
- March 2011: Grichuk fouled a ball off his kneecap and cracked it during spring training.
- May 2011: Randal sprained the medial collateral ligament in his other knee during a slide in extended spring training. He returned to action July 10.
- May 28, 2013: Grichuk was on the D.L. with a sore lower back.
- April 18-May 16, 2015: A lower-back strain similar to the one he suffered in Spring Training is sending Grichuk to the 15-day disabled list just a couple of weeks after he made an Opening Day roster for the first time.
- August 17-September 6, 2015: Grichuk was on the 15-day D.L. with a right elbow injury that includes a muscle strain and low-grade ligament sprain.