It was honestly a matter of time. Robbie Grossman excited both Astros fans and decision makers alike in Spring Training, and then carried that positive momentum into the start of the season at AAA. If only Grossman could have continued his success after he was called up to the majors after hitting .324 in Oklahoma City. However, that just did not happen.
Robbie Grossman (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Grossman certainly showed flashes of continuing what he started in AAA, but he could not consistently keep it going. The speedy outfielder made things happen at times at the plate, in the field, and on the base paths. Unfortunately, Grossman just could not do it on an ongoing basis.
After an exciting win this afternoon, Bo Porter announced that Grossman will be returning to AAA. Grossman had 131 plate appearances with the Astros, and he has been given a legitimate chance to stick in the majors. But there just comes a time, where it is counter productive to keep a young player in the big leagues when their performance does not warrant it.
If Grossman is going to be in Houston, he should be playing everyday, and at this point he should not be. He has not been having success at the plate, and at this point Porter decided he would be better served getting regular playing time at AAA. And that is the right call for Grossman’s future. Grossman needs to have success he can build on, and it was just not going to happen in Houston at this time.
During his stay in Houston, Grossman struck out 23.7% of the time, which is not ideal for a lead off hitter, but in line with his performance from the past few seasons. The real problem, is his .198 batting average. What has saved him, is his 16 walks giving Grossman a .310 on base percentage. But in order to have sustained success, Grossman will have to improve on his 19.2% line drive rate.
Another skill Grossman needs to work on his base stealing ability. The fact that he has speed is without question. For Grossman, the problem is that he needs to learn how to use it better at the big league level. A lead off hitter needs to not only get on base, but steal bases, and Grossman was not able to do that. He attempted six stolen bases, and was only successful on two of them.
The Astros do not plan to announce who will take Grossman’s roster spot until tomorrow. So of course the speculation machine will now begin about who will be called up. Justin Maxwell is still a week or two away. I could be wrong, but I think it is too soon for George Springer. Well, not that Springer is not ready to have success at the major league level, but Jeff Luhnow likely and rightfully thinks that Springer needs a little more seasoning.
I can see someone like Brett Wallace (hitting .299 in AAA) or Brandon Laird being called up as a temporary depth move until Maxwell is ready. Or it might be time to see what Marc Krauss and his 8 HR, 30 RBI stat line can do at the big league level.
My prediction here, is that Krauss gets the call. I also think that Grossman will return to AAA, have success, and we will see him back in Houston before the season is out. What do I hope, is that now with center field open, Brandon Barnes will get a legitimate chance to show what he can do. Whenever he is in the game, it seems that good things happen. At least until Maxwell is back, let’s give him a chance.
What does everyone else think?