The Pittsburgh Pirates have taken a lot of risks financially in the draft the last few years. When they signed Dan Grovatt as an 11th round pick in 2010, they took a risk of the injury variety. Grovatt was coming off a down year at the University of Virginia, mostly due to a partially torn UCL. He hit for a .291 average, along with an .870 OPS, down from his normal high average and high on-base percentage. His injury wasn’t severe enough to require surgery, and it allowed him to play. He ended up signing to avoid further injuries, and in part because the Pirates agreed to allow him to finish his education at UVA.
Grovatt doesn’t hit for a lot of power, but gets a lot of his value from great contact skills, great plate patience, and decent speed. He has a strong arm, making him a right field candidate. However, the lack of power means Grovatt will need to show some great hitting in order to have value as a right fielder. So far this year, Grovatt is hitting for a .289/.376/.427 line in 422 at-bats. He’s got eight homers, 26 doubles, and 19 stolen bases on the year.
Lately, Grovatt has been on fire. In the month of August he is hitting for a .368/.392/.605 line with three homers in 76 at-bats. He has recorded a hit in 17 of his 19 starts this month, and has six multi-hit games in his last seven starts. On the season, his plate patience has been as advertised, with a 16.9% strikeout rate, and a 12.0% walk rate. However, his .139 ISO leaves a lot to be desired from a corner outfielder.
If Grovatt could hit for an average well over .300, he could have a career as a starter, especially with his speed and arm giving him good defense in right field. Without a high average, his lack of power makes him more of a bench option in the future.