Robbie Grossman is a very intriguing player on the Astros 40-man roster. Robbie made his professional debut in the 2013 season and left two contrasting impressions in two separate stints with the big league club. Given the current construction of the roster, I’d have to say Bo Porter is likely to pencil Grossman in as his Opening Day starter in left field.
- Where did Grossman come from?
- What did 2013 show us?
- Can he get better?
The 2012 trade deadline saw the Astros trade one of my favorite pitchers, Wandy Rodriguez, to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The trade made sense to cut salary and acquire young developing talent to bolster the minor league pipeline. The Pirates sent a pair of lefty pitchers named Colton Cain and Rudy Owens along with outfielder Robbie Grossman. Originally from Houston, Grossman signed after being drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 amateur draft. Cain and Owens have yet to make their big-league debuts. Owens is currently on the 40-man roster and may be the better of the two pitching prospects.
The 2013 season was certainly interesting for the rookie outfielder. Grossman was promoted to the Astros following an early season injury to Justin Maxwell. In his big league debut, Grossman collected two doubles in a 2 for 5 performance that helped the Astros to a 10-3 win over the Seattle Mariners. After that, things didn’t go quite as well. Robbie was eventually optioned back to Oklahoma City after hitting just .198 in his first 28 games.
Grossman’s second stint with the Astros was much more encouraging for fans of the orange and blue. Robbie posted a .322/.351/.466 slash line in 35 games before an oblique strain ended his season in early September. This hot stretch also saw Grossman take sole possession of the Astros’ longest hitting streak — 14 games — during the 2013 campaign. His first major league home run will put him alongside Chris Davis, David Ortiz, Jim Thome, and even Lance Berkman among other well-known power hitters. Seriously. The ball landed on Eutaw Street which is located outside of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Those who have hit long homeruns there are commemorated with a plaque where their ball landed.
Of course he can improve. After initially failing to crack the Mendoza line, his overall batting average came up to .268 for 63 games at the big league level. When looking at his four minor league seasons, Grossman has a .381 on-base percentage to go along with two seasons of double digit home runs. If he can sustain his ability to hit for average and continue to discover a power stroke, Grossman can certainly become a solid everyday outfielder.