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