Written By: Matt Vereb

Outfielder Curtis Granderson was acquired from the Detroit Tigers during the off-season. Some Yankee fans are familiar with Granderson, others aren’t. Last season for the Detroit Tigers, Granderson hit 30 HRs, drove in 71 RBIs, and stole 20 bases. This marked the second time in Granderson’s four year career that he put 30 HR/20 SB numbers. Granderson, a left-handed, leadoff hitter, has posted a career .272 Batting Avg. at the plate and .344 On-Base Percentage. The only chink in Granderson’s armor is his alarming split against left-handed pitching(.183 in 2009). Lifetime, Granderson splits are (.292 vs. righties; .210 vs. lefties). With the departure of two consistent, yet older left-handed hitters(Matsui, Damon), Yankee fans may be a little concerned when reading his splits.

With the departure of Johnny Damon, the #2 hole in the batting order has opened. Many will argue for the multi-dimensional Granderson to fill that void. Others will argue Nick Johnson. To me, the Yankees brought in First Baseman, Nick Johnson (.435 OBP last season, .402 career) to fill that void. Johnson grounds into more double plays than Granderson does, but in my opinion, his On-Base Percentage outweighs that statistic. The Yankees want to give Teixeira and Rodriguez as many opportunities as possible to drive runs in.

So where does Granderson fit in for the Yanks?

My hitting lineup projection: Jeter, N. Johnson, Teixeira, Rodriguez, Cano, Posada, Granderson, Swisher, Gardner

The 7th hole in Yankee order(Cano 2009) will produce a lot of RBI opportunities. Cano hit an abysmal .207 with RISP and still managed to drive in 85 runs. Granderson hit .242 with Runners in Scoring Position last season, a figure that he should definitely improve upon given his lineup protection in 2010. Naturally, Granderson 71 RBIs from the leadoff spot in 2009, will get more RBI opportunities this season and will definitely benefit from the generous confides of Yankee Stadium. Granderson hit 1 HR in 11 At-Bats last season at Yankee Stadium. Imagine what he can do in 81 Home Games.

I looked up stat projections from five different baseball publications and averaged the figures to give fans a better image of Granderson’s production

ESPN 98 25 66 17 0.268 0.347
MARCEL 93 23 65 17 0.270 0.345
CHONE 101 26 70 14 0.264 0.342
FANS 102 30 100 20 0.276 0.354
CAIRO 101 28 95 19 0.277 0.349
AVG 99 26.4 79.2 17.4 0.271 0.347

Due to optimism, The Fans’ projections will always be a bit skewed. I think he will out-produce his RBI and SB average. Granderson is a young, dynamic player that will grow on Yankee fans. Granderson can also play above-average defense in the outfield. I can’t wait to watch Curtis Granderson roam Yankee Stadium. ‘Granderson Central’ will be located in the Bronx.

My Projection: 100 Runs, 26 HRs, 90 RBIs, 20 SBs, .272 AVG, .350 OBP

What do you think about Granderson’s outlook this season?

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com