It seems that everyone is down on Trent Grisham after a disappointing season last year. Grisham broke out in the shortened 2020 season, so it’s fair to say his step back last year was not what many expected. Lower body injuries hampered Trent Grisham and his performance last season, leaving some fantasy managers hesitant to draft him now. But the downgrade has shifted his value too much, giving those who draft Grisham a nice discount. Let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t give up on Grisham in 2022, and why you will be happy to have him on your team.
Why Trent Grisham is a Value
The 2020 season really threw a wrench into the evaluation of players. There were guys who were hot for 60 games while some couldn’t get into their groove until the season was nearly finished. Trent Grisham certainly made his presence known in his first season with the Padres. In 215 ABs in 2020, Grisham had a slash line of .251/.352/.456 with 10 HRs, 26 RBI, and 10 SBs. A solid first full year with a lot to build on. Grisham’s hit tool isn’t the strongest, and he doesn’t hit the ball very hard, so it was encouraging to see the number of home runs and a good enough batting average. With great on-base skills and the ability to steal double-digit bases at a high percentage in 2020 (10 for 11), the sky seemed to be the limit for Grisham.
With any breakout, it is important to look at the underlying numbers, especially with an unproven player in such a small sample size. Looking at Grisham’s baseball savant page, there is a lot to like in his profile.
There’s red pretty much everywhere. The average exit velocity isn’t surprising given Grisham hasn’t been known for his ability to hit the ball hard. But at the same time, he ranked in the 85th percentile for max exit velocity. He can hit the ball hard, he just doesn’t do it consistently enough. His chase rate, walk rate, and xwOBA all indicate his on-base skills are legit and borderline elite for having such a pedestrian batting average. His 2020 wasn’t fluky by any means and should be the expectation moving forward.
What Happened in 2021?
Trent Grisham looked like he would be roto gold in 2021. With the potential for at least a 20-20 season with a high OBP, while hitting in front of Fernando Tatís, Grisham was poised for a huge season. What we didn’t know is that Grisham would hardly be fully healthy in 2021. He began the year on the IL with a hamstring injury and missed about a week of games. Once he made his season debut it looked like we were getting the 2020 version of Grisham, if not more. In 136 ABs from April 9 to May 21, Grisham slashed .302/.383/.515 with 6 HRs, 14 RBI, and 7 SBs. For a month and a half, he did turn out to be roto gold. Unfortunately, Grisham suffered a bruised heel on May 14 and was never really the same after that.
After a three-week stay on the IL because of the bruised heel, Grisham returned and played pretty much every game the rest of the season. But the Trent Grisham we saw in 2020 and at the beginning of 2021 was gone. In 326 ABs following his IL stint, Grisham had a putrid .218/.304/.371 line with only 9 HRs and was inefficient in stolen bases, going 6 for 10. Clearly, the heel injury was impacting every part of his game and pretty much tanking his season.
With a poor performance in the second half, while playing through injury, Grisham’s underlying numbers took a hit. Fast forward to this spring and those numbers are still hindering Grisham’s ADP. No one wants to draft a guy who is below average in almost every category with a top-150 pick. But shouldn’t we put more stock into his profile from a healthy 2020 (albeit short) and his hot start in 2021? It’s evident he was affected by the heel injury all season, so I’m willing to trust what I saw in a healthy Trent Grisham rather than what we saw for most of last season.
A healthy Trent Grisham will surely outperform his current ADP of 137 in 2022. I’d much rather have Grisham over Myles Straw, who is going just ahead of him. Most projections have Grisham with 15-20 HRs, 15-20 SBs, and an OBP of around .335. If these projections prove to be true, then you are paying a fair price for Grisham as OF37. However, with what we saw when he’s healthy, Grisham has the ability to finish as a top 25 outfielder. Entering his age 25 season, I’m confident Trent Grisham will put his injury-plagued 2021 season behind him.
Grisham can be a roto monster as long as the heel injury is behind him. Now that spring training is starting, we should get a good idea of his heath, which will be key. Also, Grisham gets a huge boost in roto leagues over points leagues. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take Grisham for the right price in a points league, but his value is much higher in a roto format. Either way, don’t overlook Trent Grisham in your drafts this spring. He’ll be a solid contributor in all five categories, especially if you play in an OBP league.