Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pirates Future Outfield pt2

Continuing where I left off yesterday, I'm going to take a look at another young outfielder that could join Starling Marte in the future outfield for the Pirates.  That individual is none other than Robbie Grossman.  While many suspect that his upside isn't that high, Grossman's continued progress throughout his minor league career suggests that he has huge upside when developed properly.  Keith Law ranked Grossman 86th overall while MLB.COM didn't have him ranked in the top 100.

Robbie Grossman was selected in the 6th round of the 2008 draft out of high school.  He began his career in A- ball and showed that he was outmatched striking out 164 times with only 28 extra base hits and 75 walks.  The following year, he began in A ball for the Bradenton Marauders.  While not great numbers he showed improvement in all areas especially plate discipline.  In 2011 he repeated in Bradenton as a 21 year old which as an age appropriate level.  He thrived and became the first player to have 100 runs scored and 100 walks in a season since Nick Swisher.  We all know that Swisher is one of the better OF in the game now so that's a great sign for Grossman.

Here's a look at his development over the past three seasons
2009- 164 K/ 75 BB/ 28 XBH
2010- 118 K/ 66 BB/ 36 XBH
2011- 111 K/ 104 BB/ 49 XBH

He also shows signs of a smart baserunner swiping nearly 20 bags each season in the minors.  20/20 potential is certainly within his limit at this pace. 

2012 will be a huge year in terms of understanding what Grossman's ceiling is.  He will receive a non roster invitation to Spring Training this year so the Pirates front office heads were obviously turned by last year's numbers.  In addition to dominating in Bradenton, he continued to mash in the Arizona Fall League.  I suspect Robbie will begin in AA and earn a promotion to AAA if his numbers are strong enough.  He may become a useful bench player for the Pirates come September as Grossman is also a switch hitter.

Only time will tell what Grossman is truly capable of on the field.

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