But while one guy (Trout) has received significant national attention with a strong showing in major league spring training and the first month for the Kernels this season, the other has scuffled at the plate. Though he’s showing signs of turning that around.
“It’s going to be difficult in a way, in the sense that we’re going to be compared but we’re two different types of players,” Grichuk said after homering in the Kernels’ 6-3 win Sunday over Kane County at Memorial Stadium. “He’s got power, but I’d say I’m more of a power hitter. He’s more of an average type, beat-out ground balls type.”
From the Houston area, Grichuk had seven home runs and 30 extra-base hits in 53 games last season. He has homers in back-to-back games for the Kernels (12-12) and has inched his BA over the Mendoza Line to .218.
He also has a team-high 26 strikeouts (and just five walks), which is something he knows he has to improve on.
“If you’re struggling, you tend to press a little bit,” Grichuk said. “You might not try to, but anyone that’s batting under .200 is going to. Coming in, I just wasn’t seeing the ball very well. Plus, coming from last year to this year, me and Delly (hitting coach Brent Del Chiaro) were working on my swing a little bit, and I really wasn’t understanding it well. So I’ve had trouble using my lower half and getting the (correct) bat path to the ball.
“But we’ve been working on it, and we think we’ve found a swing that works. I’ve been seeing the ball real well with it.”
Trout went 1-for-4 with a run and RBI Sunday and sits second in the Midwest League with a gaudy .366 average. It appears his development is ahead of Grichuk’s at this point.
Not that it’s fair to look at it that way. Or is it?
“I think it’s great for both of them. It motivates both of them,” said Kernels Manager Bill Mosiello. “They’re not dumb, they know they’ll always be linked. But they’re great friends and they’re great teammates, and that’s what makes it special. There’s no worries about jealousy or anything like that. They’re pushing each other. They’d both be lying to you if they said they didn’t want outplay the other, which is good.”
Cedar Rapids won its fourth straight to creep back to the .500 mark. Orangel Arenas (1-4) threw six shutout innings for his first victory of the season and newcomer Ivan Contreras went 2-for-2 with three runs.
Kane County (11-13) starting pitcher Chris Mederos was pulled from the game after incurring what appeared to be a shoulder injury just two batters in. The teams play the finale of their four-game series today at noon.