2021 Pod Projections: Trent Grisham, A Review

Let’s continue reviewing the Pod Projections I shared early in the year. Today, I’ll review my Trent Grisham forecast. You can find the original writeup here. Grisham enjoyed somewhat of a fantasy breakout during the short 2020 season, as he went 10/10 over 252 plate appearances, putting him on a 20+/20+ pace over a full season. We fantasy owners salivate over that power/speed potential. Let’s see how he followed up and compare it to my projections and the rest of the forecasts.

Plate Appearances: 631 Forecasted | 527 Actual

Grisham missed about three weeks due to a heel injury that landed him on the IL. But he also took a seat on the bench a bit more than usual due to the Padres depth. It results in more than 100 fewer PAs than projected. Furthermore, I assumed he would spend the majority of his time batting leadoff, or at worst, second. While he did record by far the most PAs at leadoff than from any other batting slot, he found himself hitting from the seventh and eighth slots in the order in 30 games. That reduced is times to the plate as well.

BB%: 11.5% Forecasted | 10.2% Actual

This was the lowest walk rate Grisham has posted as a professional baseball player, which includes all minor league stints and his short time in the Majors. Who knew?! He swung at a much higher rate of pitches inside the zone than he had in the past, which meant more chances to put the ball in play and end the plate appearance before a walk was possible. That’s actually a positive change as not swinging at balls inside the zone will almost always result in a called strike, unless the umpire stinks.

K%: 25.2% Forecasted | 22.6% Actual

I called for a slightly improved strikeout rate versus his prior two small sample seasons, but he improved even more. This likely also relates to swinging at more pitches inside the zone as his called strike rate improved.

GB%/LD%/FB%: 38.5% / 21.5% / 40.0% Forecasted | 41.4% / 21.6% / 37.0% Actual

This forecast was nearly on the money, as Grisham traded some forecasted fly balls for grounders. I did correctly project that some of his 2020 line drives would turn into fly balls. Given his heavy fly ball tendency in the minors, I still think there’s more FB% upside here.

BABIP: .295 Forecasted | .292 Actual

I almost nailed this one as well, as I figured a decline in LD% and increased FB% versus 2020 would reduce his BABIP. He finished with a mark that exactly matched the league average.

HR/FB Ratio: 17.0% Forecasted | 12.0% Actual

This was a disappointment. In 2019, Grisham enjoyed a power outburst at Double-A and Triple-A. He held onto some of those gains during his first two seasons in MLB, and I mostly believe in his 2020 output when forecasting 2021. But his overall power (ISO) and home run power (HR/FB) hit a low over his short MLB career this season. He’s still just 25, so I think he’s easily capable of a power bounceback.

Runs and RBI: 97 and 72 Forecasted | 61 and 62 Actual

The big misses here were the result of the disappointing power output, the 100 fewer PAs due mostly to injury, and the worse batting order slots than I had expected. That’s the difficulty of playing for a good offense. While the good offense itself will turn over more often and result in more batters on base to knock in and hitters to knock him in, it raises the risk of being dropped in the order to an unappealing spot that will really hurt the R+RBI totals.

SB: 13 Forecasted | 13 Actual

I actually nailed this one, but of course, it came in 100 fewer PAs than I projected. Given the PAs I projected, Grisham was on a 15.6 steal pace. This projection was debated in the comments as some felt it was “way light”. But Grisham hasn’t been a significant basestealer since 2017 and I had a hard time believing he would continue turning up the jets on an offense expected to be near the top in the NL (it wasn’t).

***

Below is Grisham’s final hitting line, along with my Pod Projected hitting line, and the other systems available at the time for comparison, with the best forecasts highlighted:

Trent Grisham Projection Comparison
System AB PA AVG HR R RBI SB BB% K% BABIP
Actual 462 527 0.242 15 61 62 13 10.2% 22.6% 0.292
Pod 549 631 0.246 27 97 72 13 11.5% 25.2% 0.295
THE BAT X 550 637 0.243 20 82 73 14 11.9% 24.0% 0.297
THE BAT 551 637 0.242 21 83 74 13 11.8% 24.0% 0.295
ATC 548 641 0.249 23 92 74 19 12.4% 23.3% 0.297
FGDC 530 623 0.246 23 87 74 16 12.7% 22.7% 0.291
Steamer 539 632 0.252 24 90 73 15 12.3% 21.7% 0.292
ZiPS 508 598 0.240 21 82 73 16 13.2% 23.7% 0.289

Obviously, we were all off on the majority of the counting stats because Grisham recorded far fewer PAs than even the most pessimistic system expected. Nearly every system projected a batting average in the .240 range, so it’s pretty funny to see him settle right in there, even though he didn’t bat in that range in 2019 or 2020.

We were all too high on his walk rate, but by virtue of my projection being the lowest, I was actually the closest. Six of the seven systems were too high on his strikeout rate, but the FanGraphs Depth Charts projection nearly nailed it.

Finally, six of seven systems projected a BABIP in the .290 range, even though he had posted marks below or above that in his previous two seasons. Sure enough, he finished right where he was projected.

Grisham will surely be much cheaper in 2022 than he was in 2021. While I expect his power to rebound, the Padres still have good depth and he figured to open the year toward the bottom of the order this time. So he might not be much of a contributor in R+RBI again and you have to hope a fast start pushes him up in the lineup.





Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Creamymember
8 months ago

Appreciated this review of Grisham. Will be interesting to see what he can do at age 25 if he is fully healthy. Plenty of pressure on the Padres to secure a playoff berth so he may be on a short lease if he gets off to a slow start . . .

hombremomentomember
8 months ago
Reply to  Creamy

Healthy Grisham definitely sounds like a .260/.365/.460/125 wRC+ guy to me

Travis Lmember
8 months ago
Reply to  hombremomento

I’d take that as his 70% projection. There’s a lot of room for him to be worse than that line, not much room for him to be much better.

hombremomentomember
8 months ago
Reply to  Travis L

True, a lot of this is drawn from his 2020 where he had a about a 120 wRC+; I’m making the assumption the walks/strikeouts continue to progress and the physical maturity gives him some more pop