After a rough start to the season, Randal Grichuk is showing that he can be an important building block for the Toronto Blue Jays.
When the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Randal Grichuk from the St. Louis Cardinals, it came with the knowledge that he was a streaky hitter.
Over the past month, it looks like he’s trending in the right direction after a tough start to the season. In March/April, the 26-year-old hit .106/.276/.227/ then was put on the DL with a knee injury.
Missing all of May, Grichuk has come back in a strong way hitting .326/.380/.717 in 14 games in June. This recent stretch shows that Grichuk is certainly not the hitter we saw back at the start of the season but is he able to sustain the recent stretch that he’s on?
Back in January, Grichuk spoke to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com about how he bought a pitching machine in hopes of helping him track different types of pitches. That’s not the only thing the Texas native did as he went one step further in order to reduce the number of strikeouts.
"“One of the things that I’ve been really trying to focus on is training the eyes,” Grichuk told Chisolm before the start of the season. “I took a course on vision training, to work the muscles in the eyes. So many people don’t really work out their eyes and there are a lot of muscles in the eyes that are just like a normal muscle in the body. You need to train it, you need to work it out. I’ve been doing a lot of things to help improve plate discipline for the upcoming season.”"
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Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reported that the most crucial part to Grichuk’s big performance in Sunday’s 8-6 win over the Washington Nationals was not just the home runs but his other at-bats.
To go along with his two homers, Grichuk also added an RBI single and a walk which generated a run as well. Gibbons told the media that those at-bats were more impressive and it should be because it shows that he’s not trying to rely on the long ball.
A big knock on the Blue Jays has been the reliance on hitting home runs and while they certainly have hitters capable of doing it, a team wants to find balance.
If Grichuk can continue to develop into that type of hitter than it gives the Blue Jays a strong piece to their outfield to go along with Teoscar Hernandez who is showing great power but could stand to reduce the number of strikeouts.
While this season has been a tough one for Toronto, this recent stretch shows that there is something to build off of in the outfield.