The acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes and the reemergence of Lucas Duda have helped turn around the Mets lineup. Together, they totally changed the dynamic of the lineup.
However, while Cespedes and Duda deserve credit, the season Curtis Granderson is having in the leadoff spot should not be overlooked.
Quietly, he's hitting .260 with a .352 OBP and .445 SLG, a vast improvement over 2014. So what exactly is Granderson doing differently than he did just a season ago?
Granderson's .227/.326/.388 slash line last year wasn't exactly what most hoped for. He hit 20 home runs and drove in 66 runs, but could never find consistency throughout the season. The year progressed, the strikeouts piled up, and the average remained low. The comparisons to failed free agent signing Jason Bay, rather unfairly, came rolling in.
As much as he was known as a pull hitter during his time with the Yankees, Granderson pulled the ball at a 54.9 percent clip in 2014, a career-high according to FanGraphs. His 46.9 fly ball percentage wasn't much different than his career norm, but the bigger outfield at Citi Field swallowed up some hits.
This season, especially since the summer months have hit, Granderson's more selective approach has paid off. While he's swung at fewer pitches overall, the good part is that he's laying off more pitches out of the strike zone than he's done in previous seasons.
More important, though, is that when Granderson does swing, the ball is being hit throughout the whole field on a line more times than not. His line drive rate (28.2 percent) is by far the by best of his career. Aside from some better luck, this could factor into his .313 BABIP, a 48-point rise from last year.
Despite a decrease in the number of fly balls, Granderson's home run-to-fly ball ratio has actually jumped a bit more than four percentage points. With 54 games to play, Granderson is just three home runs shy of his 2014 mark.
Whether it's a bit of luck, a change in approach, help from hitting coach Kevin Long or the newer, friendlier dimensions at Citi Field, Granderson is having a terrific season, if not one of the best of his career. Even defensively, despite his weak arm, Granderson's play in right field has improved. Right now, according to Fangrpahs, he has a 3.2 Wins Above Replacement, his best mark since 2011, and a more than respectable number.
Is Granderson the power hitter he was four years ago? No, but he is putting an effective season together, and that should not be taken for granted.