Taking a closer look at new San Diego Padres’ outfielder Trent Grisham.
The Padres traded popular young second baseman Luis Urias to the Milwaukee Brewers last week. In return, the San Diego Padres received a blossoming left-handed hitting outfielder named Trent Grisham. The 23-year-old performed well in September and October recording a .747 OPS in 27 games, as the Brewers used the rookie every day after Christian Yelich went down with a knee injury.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Grisham with their first-round (15th overall) pick in 2015 out of a high school in Texas. His first taste of pro ball after the draft was pleasant, as he recorded a .854 OPS in 55 games at the Rookie League level in Arizona. The next three seasons spent in the minors were not as fruitful, as Grisham recorded a .690, .708, and .693 OPS as a 19, 20, and 21-year-old in the Brewers system. He was fizzling out as a prospect, and some feared he would never even reach the Major Leagues.
It was time for a change, and the speedy outfielder did just that. He went back to what made him a first-round pick.
2019 was a coming out for Grisham in many ways. A minor adjustment with the placement of his hands, reminiscent of a golf grip, was implemented by the outfielder. “I was done doing things the way everybody wanted me to. I just wanted to go back to what felt comfortable for me.” Grisham told Baseball America. The left-handed hitter places both thumbs parallel with the bat upon swinging. This style is exceptionally unique. It is something that you would not teach to a young player as it limits extension with the follow-through. As an 18-year-old drafted by the Brewers, he was asked to switch the batting grip that resulted in a .441 and .552 batting average in his junior and senior seasons in high school. When you are a young player- you what you are told. Grisham went to a more traditional grip and failed to drive the ball consistently.
Now with his old grip in place, the outfielder is reaching his potential. Grisham also adjusted with his approach at the plate. He worked hard on hitting the ball out in front more. Being more aggressive early in the count was also a goal for him. The Brewers felt his contact point was weak before the adjustment as he would let the ball travel deep into his zone. With his swing, Grisham now attempts to hit the ball out in front of the plate (especially early in the count). By doing this- his hard contact has vastly improved. Now hitting the ball harder than at any time in his professional career, there is excitement for his upside. Grisham recorded a 1.010 OPS and a .603 slugging percentage between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He slugged 26 totals home runs, which were more than he hit in the previous four minor league seasons combined. In 1,220 at-bats from 2015-2018, Trent Grisham hit a total of 19 homers and recorded a .360 slugging percentage. The difference is noticeable.
The boost in offensive production is nice, but Grisham shows more tools than just power. Throughout his minor league career, he has continually gotten on base at a high rate. In 1,590 career minor league at-bats, the outfielder owns a .376 OBP. This impressive ability to get on base is exactly what the Padres desire. Speed is another great talent for Grisham as he will be an immediate stolen base threat for San Diego. Statcast measured his sprint speed at an elite 29.5 feet per second, which is good for the 4th-fastest among outfielders and 14th-fastest in all of baseball. If Grisham can come close to those numbers at the Major League level, he will be a productive player for the Padres.
A.J. Preller and his management team did well to acquire this left-handed-hitting outfielder. They picked up a young player with tremendous upside. Here is Grisham’s first hit and his first home run in the Major Leagues. Both came at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.
In the video, you notice that Grisham hooks the ball. He has a pull conscious swing but can drive the ball out to left-center as he did in the home run. The power he displays is raw, as his ability to hit consistently, but there is plenty to like. The swing and miss in his profile will be overlooked if he continues to improve on the other facets of his game.
Robert Murray, who was The Athletic beat writer for the Brewers, told me this about Grisham. “He’s a good dude. Quiet, reserved, but always respectful. He has a shot to be a good player on both sides. Can play all three outfield spots. Unlocked offensive potential by switching back to golf grip on his bat. He struggled at times with strikeouts but seemed to figure it out by the end of the year.” This is an excellent insight from a scribe who spent time firsthand with Grisham and saw his development.
The Padres are making moves in an attempt to get better. The team wants to provide stability to a franchise that has been anything but consistent. Trent Grisham could be a significant part of the growth of this franchise. There will undoubtedly be rough patches in his growth, but the good outweighs the bad in his baseball profile. The 23-year-old is young and has limitless potential. The Padres will grant him every opportunity to get better at the Major League level.