As most of you have already seen, Randal Grichuk had that scary collision with the side line security guard the other day. I wont go into too many details about the play itself. But only say the security guard simply needs to hop on the side wall, something the Blue Jays organization should be responsible for teaching any non-player who happens to be on the field.
This play, as unfortunate as it was, embodies the tireless approach that Grichuk brings to the Blue Jays. He has a gift for running down fly balls. Something that has much to do with his ability to never give up on pop-flies that many right fielders would consider well out of range.
Toronto has had some wonderful right fielders over the years, but none that I can remember had the range and unrelenting effort that Grichuk brings. A position reserved for the biggest outfield arm, we’ve been spoiled with the likes of Jesse Barfield, Shawn Green, Raul Mondesi, and Jose Bautista. As great as those players were (all gold glove winners with the exception of Bautista), their range still didn’t compare to that of Grichuk’s.
Grichuk’s defense is so reliable that he’s almost become a defensive specialist of sorts. Much like other defensive specialists (e.g. John McDonald), you kept them in the line-up despite some perceived deficiencies at the plate. At the moment, Grichuk has a .247 AVG, .303 OBP, and 21 HR. Considering his plus defense, those kind of offensive contributions should be more than enough for the Blue Jays. Especially when Grichuk is still just 27-years of age with plenty of time yet to refine his skills as a hitter.
It says a lot about a player to make the kind of effort Grichuk did against Cleveland when Toronto is so far out of contention. Professional ball players can often get lazy and disinterested at this time of year. Grichuk meanwhile is playing the same way he would if it were the post-season, and it’s a big reason why he’s become quite possibly the most important outfielder on this ball club.