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Yasmani Grandal

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Yasmani Grandal

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Yasmani Grandal was a first-round pick in the 2010 amateur draft.

Grandal was born in Cuba and moved to the USA at age 10. He hit .433 as a high school sophomore at Miami Springs High School, .461 as a junior and .447 with 13 homers and 48 RBI as a senior. That year, he was named an AFLAC High School All-American. Baseball America also picked him as the All-American catcher, ahead of Devin Mesoraco (second team) and Travis D'Arnaud (3rd team). The other players picked as first-teamers, including Madison Bumgarner, Rick Porcello and Jason Heyward, all would be first-round draft picks. The Boston Red Sox chose him in the 27th round of the 2007 amateur draft; he went low due to a strong college commitment.

As a freshman at the University of Miami, Yasmani batted .234/.358/.452 for the lowest average of any Miami regular. His sophomore year, he improved to .299/.410/.599 with a team-high 16 homers in 59 contests. He was All-Atlantic Coast Conference second team at catcher behind Tony Sanchez. He played for Team USA's college edition that summer, but they did not go to any major international tournaments.

Grandal was hitting .422/.545/.754 as of June 3rd, leading the ACC in average, slugging and OBP while being second in walks(52) and doubles (22). He was also fielding .994 at catcher. He made the Collegiate Baseball All-American team. The Cincinnati Reds took him 12th in the 2010 amateur draft; Bryce Harper was the only catcher to go higher, but was immediately converted to an outfielder. Grandal was signed by scout Miguel Machado and made his pro debut that summer.

In his pro debut, Grandal was 8 for 28 with a double and four walks for the AZL Reds. In 2011, he played with three different teams, hitting .305 in 105 games. He started with the Bakersfield Blaze for 56 games in the California League where he hit .296 with 10 homers. He then moved to the AA Carolina Mudcats for 45 games, then ended the season in AAA with 4 games with the Louisville Bats. However, he was behind Devin Mesoraco, another first-rounder who had made his major league debut that season, on the Reds' depth chart, making him a possible trading chip. On December 17th, he was sent to the San Diego Padres along with Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez in return for pitcher Mat Latos. He started the 2012 season in the minor leagues, hitting .335 in 56 games for the AAA Tucson Padres.

He was called up for a single game on June 2, 2012, when he made an out in his only plate appearance, and then returned for a more serious look on June 30th, with the view of taking over for a struggling Nick Hundley. In his first start behind the plate for the Padres, he hit two homers against the Colorado Rockies, leading San Diego to an 8-4 victory. The long balls were his first two major league hits; the first was hit righthanded off Christian Friedrich in the 4th, and the second lefthanded off Jeremy Guthrie in the 6th. The Elias Sports Bureau indicated that no player in baseball history had ever hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same game for his first two hits. He ended with a very solid first season for the Padres, playing 60 games with a batting line of .297/.394/.469, with 7 doubles and 8 homers. However, after the season, he tested positive for testosterone, a banned PED and was issued a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball, to be served at the start of the 2013 season. He was cleared to return to action on May 28th. He was hitting only .216 with one homer and 9 RBI in 28 games when he suffered a serious knee injury on July 6th. The injury occurred when Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals slid into his leg while trying to score in the 3rd inning, twisting his knee. He managed to tag out Rendon, but had to leave the game and was placed on the 60-day DL the next day. The injury was a torn anterior cruciate ligament which required season-ending surgery. His name had come up in the Biogenesis Laboratories investigation, but he did not receive any additional suspension, as his earlier suspension had already covered offenses committed during the relevant period.

Grandal was back with the Padres for the start of the 2014 season. While Rene Rivera was the starting catcher against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day on March 30th, he came in as a pinch-hitter with the score tied at 1 in the 8th. He drew a walk against Brian Wilson, advanced to second on a sacrifice hit then surprised everyone by stealing third base, taking advantage of 3B Juan Uribe charging towards home to field a possible bunt. It was the first stolen base of his entire professional career, after 268 games. Chris Denorfia then drove him in with a single, the winning run in a 3-1 Padres victory. Grandal played 128 games for the Padres, hitting .225 with 15 homers and 49 RBIs. Given the very difficult hitting context of Petco Park, this was actually good for an OPS+ of 112.

On December 11, 2014, the Padres traded Grandal with pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Matt Kemp and Tim Federowicz.

Source: Miami bio

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