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Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Top Prospects: #6 – Robbie Grossman

The Pirates Prospects 2012 Prospect Guide will be released later this week, featuring over 250 prospect reports, the 2012 top 50 prospects, a feature on the top four pitching prospects in the system, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top ten prospects over the next week.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

10. Nick Kingham

9. Kyle McPherson

8. Stetson Allie

7. Tony Sanchez

We continue the countdown with the number six prospect, Robbie Grossman.

Robbie Grossman had a breakout season in 2011.

6. Robbie Grossman, OF

Grossman was one of the first big over-slot signings under the Pirates’ approach of pursuing prep players and buying them out of their commitments to college. For his first two years as a pro he was more of a project, struggling with his strikeout numbers and failing to put up any power. Things finally came together in 2011 for Grossman, with the Pirates seeing a major return on their $1 M investment.

Grossman had a breakout season in his second run through Bradenton, hitting for average, adding some power, and improving his plate patience in a big way. Grossman walked 104 times, which combined with his 127 runs made him the first minor league player to record 100 in each category since Nick Swisher in 2004. His 13 homers more than doubled his career totals coming in to the 2011 season. He also improved his hitting from the left side of the plate, which might have been the biggest factor to his success.

Since Grossman was repeating the high-A level, it’s hard to get a read on how good his numbers really were. He played in the Arizona Fall League during the off-season, and was one of the top hitters in the league, which was an encouraging sign that his 2011 production was legit. The downside was that Grossman fractured his hamate bone, an injury which can sap power for up to a year.

We started to see some of Grossman’s upside in 2011. He added some power, but he doesn’t profile as a guy who can hit more than 15-20 homers a year. Instead his power comes in the form of extra base hits. He has the ability to hit for average, and is excellent at getting on base. He has the speed to play center, but profiles best at a corner outfield spot, with left field being his ideal spot due to a below average arm. He will move up to Altoona in 2012 where he hopes to build on his 2011 breakout season.

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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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  • http://twitter.com/sdimmick3 Chicken McD

    excited to watch him in Altoona!

  • James S

    I remember the buzz when we drafted him and have kept my eye on him since. His high walk rate is a great indicator already that he has good major league potential as a hitter.
    The power was bound to come, and it looks like it is now.
    As long as this guy just keeps that patient hitting style, he will continue to advance talent-wise and level-wise.
    That hamate bone thing though may rob him of some power this coming season until it is fully healed though, something we have seen happpen with many other hamate bone injuries in the past. It is usually the second season after the surgery when the hitter finally gets back to normal. He will need to guard against letting that change his plate approach in any way.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t hold repeating a level against him. I don’t think that is uncommon and the Bucs could have promoted him to Altoona in 2011 but for some reason decided to keep him at Bradenton.  I don’t remember reasoning for that, but if he plays well at Altoona he could be promoted in 2012.

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