How Could Yasmani Grandal Improve the Pirates?

The Pirates catching this season has been disappointing. With Grandal returning soon from his rehab assignment, how can he help the Pirates get back to winning?
Feb 14, 2024; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Yasmani Grandal (6) works out at Pirate
Feb 14, 2024; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Yasmani Grandal (6) works out at Pirate / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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Going into Spring Training, many fans were upset with Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington's comments regarding the possibility of optioning former first-overall pick, Henry Davis to Triple-A. Discussion began involving newly signing catcher, Yasmani Grandal, to be the starting catcher in Pittsburgh. Within two games played for Grandal, he suffered Plantar Fasciitis, which prevented him from being able to run. This injury forced the Pirates to start Davis in the MLB.

Davis did not have a great first month of the season. Davis currently has a batting average of .169 with three doubles and four runs batted in. He also has an OPS of .497, which includes an on-base percentage of .282 and a slugging percentage of .215. He adds a 34.2% strikeout rate and a wRC+ of 49 to all of that as well. His defense has also been poor as his framing ranks in the 13th percentile, according to Baseball Savant, and he has accounted for -2 defensive runs saved.

Jason Delay was chosen to be the backup catcher, but after two games, Delay began to experience problems in his knee, which later resulted in surgery. After Cherington discovered that, he quickly acquired Joey Bart from the San Francisco Giants. Bart got hot for the Pirates at the plate with a batting average of .241 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. He also has an OPS of .958, which includes an on-base percentage of .371 and a slugging percentage of .586. His defense has actually been worse than Davis' as his blocks above average ranks in the 15th percentile and his framing ranks in the 35th percentile, according to Baseball Savant.

The catching group as a whole has not been good, but with Grandal getting healthy, it could improve. Offensively, Grandal is known as a power hitter as he has 185 career home runs. Last year, he was not the same hitter as he once was, but he still produced a .237 batting average with eight home runs and 33 runs batted in. He also had just a 21.2% strikeout rate with a wRC+ of 80. Not great, but an improvement. Defensively, Grandal is ranked in the 72nd percentile in framing and the 57th percentile in blocking, according to Baseball Savant.

The pitching has not been a problem for the Pirates, but when Grandal comes back, the pitching will get better due to his framing being very good.

It is an improvement over both of the catchers on the Pirates roster. Optioning Davis will also give him an opportunity to get hot at the plate in a non-pressure environment and give him consistent at-bats. As you can see, Yasmani Grandal's return is very important for the Pittsburgh Pirates.