Daily Prospect Profile: Robbie Grossman

Grossman is having a much improved 2011 season.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates paid Robbie Grossman a $1 M bonus as a sixth round pick, his 2011 season might not have been what they envisioned, but it certainly is something they would have taken.  Grossman has put up a .286/.422/.416 line in 339 at-bats this year, with seven homers and 19 stolen bases.  This follows a 2010 season in which Grossman had a .245/.344/.345 line in 470 at-bats, along with four homers and 15 stolen bases, all at the exact same level.

The thing that stands out the most this year about Grossman has been his walks.  He has walked 81 times this year, which is already a career high, despite having 100 fewer plate appearances than when he walked 75 times in 2009.  Grossman’s 81 walks hold a big lead in the Florida State League, and he falls second in all of baseball to Jaff Decker, who has 83 walks at the AA level.  What’s even better than the walks has been his low strikeout totals.

Grossman got off to a bad start in his career in 2009, with a 36.4% strikeout rate in West Virginia.  In 2010 he cut down on those strikeouts, taking his rate to 25.1%.  That’s an improvement, but for a guy who had a .345 slugging percentage, it wasn’t good.  This year he’s down to 23.3%, which combined with his added power (.416 slugging) is a much more reasonable rate.  There’s still room for improvement, but at the same time, he’s already made a massive improvement over the last two years.

Grossman is only 21 years old, and as of this year he’s hitting for average, getting on base at a tremendous rate, and showing some power, mostly with extra base hits, but also with a few extra homers.  Coming in to the season he had nine homers in 937 at-bats.  This year he has seven homers in 339 at-bats.  He might not add a ton of power going forward, but he could be a 15-20 home run a year guy who gets a lot of extra base hits.  When you consider his speed and strong defense in the corners, that could make him a valuable guy going forward, only adding to the outfield depth the Pirates are building up in the minors.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Lee Young

    Go Robbie Go

  • Anonymous

    Grossman has also reduced the distance in his platoon split. He’s hitting righthanders better this year than in the past. That has helped increase his rate and counting stats.

    He’s looking more like a prospect everyday. And the Pirates could use more of those.

    • F Lang

      Great point szielinski. I had previously worried if he would ever be able to hit well from the left side but he has improved greatly. Gotta love more walks than K’s. I am guessing if Bradenton is in the pennant race he will be left there to compete in higher pressure games. Altoona is not going anywhere and you love to see kids getting to compete in a higher-stress playoff setting.

  • Anonymous

    What would a month at WV show? He’s repeating this level. Challenge him.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KEYHS3XWH74U3LRIHGWL7XPBA Nate

      Repeating a level and succeeding is good – in contrast to Lambo which is in his, what, 3rd year at AA and doing miserable by most accounts.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AEWRGIK6VHMQPMFE3GKIYBXZRM Hammer

    I know it is early Thursday morning but Robbie is repeating in HiA Bradenton, not A level WV.  Don’t really know if Altoona is in his near future this year since he is only 21.  

  • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

    I’ve mentioned this a lot in the past, so I left it out of this article: had Grossman gone to Texas in 2008, he wouldn’t have been draft eligible until this year.  Based on his performance in high-A this year, I think it’s safe to assume that he would have had success as a junior in college, and would have at least been a high pick, if not a first rounder.  That would have put him in high-A for the first time during the 2012 season.

    Right now, Grossman may be repeating in high-A, but he’s still ahead of schedule.  I wouldn’t rush him at the first sign of success.  He’s only 21. Let him close out the year in high-A.  Maybe even a year in AA.  That puts him on pace for a AAA/MLB split season at the age of 23 in 2013, which is very reasonable.

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