2013 Angels Prospects Countdown #6: Randal Grichuk

The MWAH prospect countdown marches on with a slugging outfielder who is hoping to make a name for himself.

Randal Grichuk
Position: OF  Highest Level: High-A
Bats: Right Throws: Right  Height: 6'1" Weight: 195 lbs.
Age: 22  Born: 8/13/91

2012 Season Stats
High-A: 575 PA, .298 AVG, .335 OBP, .488 SLG, 30 2B, 9 3B, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 92 SO, 16 SB, 6 CS, .329 BABIP

Contact – B-.  Grichuk’s stroke is becoming increasingly shorter with every season as he develops and refines a more direct path to the ball.  This has resulted in lower strikeout rates with each passing season.  His ability to make contact however, will be tested for the first time as he’ll face the biggest jump in the minor leagues and face the advanced pitching in AA.

Power – B+.  Grichuk has the quickest and most likely strongest hands/wrists of any player in the system.  Anyone will tell you, Randal truly has a TON of power, but he isn’t necessarily a power hitter.  His swing is more geared toward generating line drives and hard ground balls, though he occasionally does get some lift on the ball.  This power won’t show up in the homerun department as often as it will in the doubles and triples department for Grichuk, but the power potential is clearly in play in the future.  However, I will caution, fans shouldn’t look for such power to manifest in lots of extra base hits in AA for Randal, Dickey Stephens Park is where homeruns go to die, so the numbers likely won’t tell the whole story.  

Discipline – D. Like fellow Angel prospects Luis Jimenez and Travis Witherspoon, the difference between Grichuk being a solid prospect and an MLB Top 100 prospect is his plate discipline.  Grichuk has made some strides in this department, but he is still far below average.  He chases pitches out of the zone rather often, and the only reason the consequences aren’t worse for him is because of his above average contact ability.  This won’t bail him out in AA though, Randal will need to make clear adjustments, otherwise things may turn bad for him as they did Witherspoon following his promotion.   

Speed – B.  Grichuk has the speed to play an adequate CF.  But he isn’t quite Mike Trout fast.  Still, being as gifted an athlete as he is, the ability to run just comes with the territory, even if he projects better in the corner OF.   

Arm – B.  Grichuk has the arm to play anywhere in the OF.  It isn’t what scouts would describe as a “plus” arm but it’s certainly better than your average 20/21 year old outfielder.   

Performance – B. It’s hard for people to realize that even though Grichuk has been in the system for what seems like forever, and has faced his share of fluke injuries, he’s still playing at or above his age appropriate level.  2012 would’ve been Grichuk’s junior season in college ball, instead, he was Advanced A Ball putting up rather impressive numbers.  He ended the season at .298 with 57 extra base hits and 16 stolen bases. 

Projection – B. This is a difficult area to judge Grichuk.  If his discipline develops and he builds more strength as many players do around age 22-23, then he could turn into a monster power hitting corner outfielder in the major leagues.  If not, he still has the line drive capacity and athletic ability to make a rather dangerous 4th outfielder. 

Estimated MLB Arrival Date – 2015

(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)

Season Summary: Before we dig in, let's give Randal a big round of applause for finally playing a full season. That isn't a knock on Randal really. His injuries have all been of the random variety, but as a result, his development has been stunted by a few years, so we've never really gotten to give him a proper assessment, until now. Having now seen what he can do, the Angels have to be pretty happy. Grichuk has all the making of a big league regular, blending good power with quality athleticism.

The big stride, outside of staying healthy, that Grichuk made this year was increasing his contact rate. Randal had a real swing-and-miss problem early in his minor league career to the point that it seemed like it could be a legitimate hindrance to his development. But in 2012, he fanned just 16.0% of the time, which is more than acceptable. In fact, it is probably even better than anyone could've really hoped. One can't help but wonder if the adjustments he made didn't come at the sacrifice of his raw power. As alluded to in the above scouting report, Grichuk's top tool since he was drafted was always said to be his immense power. It hasn't really manifested itself though. Randal registered a .190 ISO in 2012 in a league and park that are very conducive to putting up big power numbers. In that sense, his power has not been as good as originall advertised though there is still hope that it could show up once he gets more experience and polish.

What to Expect in 2013: While Grichuk made major strides in the contact department, he still has plenty of work to do in the patience department. After walking just 4% of the time in 2012, Grichuk will have to focus more on plate discipline in 2013 if he wants to keep advancing through the system, especially under the Dipoto regime. That just isn't going to fly in the majors, especially since Grichuk doesn't project to be a high average hitter.

He'll have to work out that issue in a tough environment though as Randal is ticketed for Double-A in 2013. In that brutal hitting environment, he'll be hard pressed to keep his average up while simultaneously trying to improve his control of the strike zone AND step up his power production. Oh, and he has to do all that while Mike Trout, who we all know by now was picked one spot after Grichuk in 2009, rips up the majors because apparently that is somehow relevant to Grichuk's own development as if Trout was the norm and not some generational freak of nature.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of Monkeywithahalo.com and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.