Because I’m Robbie Grossman and I’m Awesome
July 30, 2011 1 Comment
For all you wrestling fans out there, I thought I’d start this blog with my friend the Miz. I think his catchpharse applys nicely to today’s topic:
Robbie Grossman is on pace for something historic this season. No Minor League player has scored 100 runs and walked 100 times in the same season since 2004 when Nick Swisher did it for Triple-A Sacramento. That’s six seasons without a player breaking both century marks. Grossman will end the drought in 2011.
With 98 runs and 93 walks coming in to tonight’s game at Brevard County, Grossman could not only get to 100 runs, he could do it by the end of the month with two July games remaining. The 98 runs he has already also happen to be a Pittsburgh Pirates Class A-Advanced record, tying Pat Magness’s stats from the 2005 season when the Pirates were affiliated with the Lynchburg Hillcats.
Let’s dig a little deeper for a moment. Over the last six seasons several players have come very close to breaking the 100/100 plateau. Connor Crumbliss (great name by the way) walked 126 times and scored 95 times for the Low-A Burlington Bees last season. Seattle Mariners DH Jack Cust walked 143 times and scored 97 times in 2006 while at Triple-A Portland. Cust neared the feat in 2005 as well as Magness, who finished with 141 walks and 98 runs. Sure it’s impressive, but they all came down to the wire before falling short. Grossman has more than five weeks left in the season to score two runs and walk seven times. Sure, I guess it’s conceivable Grossman could draw one walk a week until the season ends and finish with 99, but considering he’s walked five times in the last three games, that’s doubtful. Grossman is going to blow the lid off the accomplishment.
Only two Major League players hit the 100/100 mark last year. They’re named Albert Pujols and Jose Bautista. I hear they’ve both had marginal success.
Grossman has played 104 of the 106 games his team’s played this year. Assuming he doesn’t miss another game he’ll walk 121 times and score 127 times. By the way, he also leads the Florida State League in on base percentage. Somehow he didn’t make the all-star team.
“He comes ready to play every day,” said Marauders hitting coach Ryan Long. “Good attitude and ready to get after it every day.”
“I’ve always just gone out there and played the game,” said Grossman. “I love the game of baseball. Just go out there and have fun with it.”
What makes Grossman’s accomplishments really cool too is that he’s not just doing this on a whim. Scoring 100 runs (I don’t know about the walks) has been his goal all season. With five weeks left in the year he’s on the verge of hitting his mark.
“A lot comes along with that,” Long said. “It helps with your approach. You’ve got to get on base. You’ve gotta handle each at bat for what it is.”
And that’s exactly what Grossman has done, reaching base in what seems like every game this season. His 37 straight game streak of safely reaching base earlier this season is still tops in the Florida State League. He’s again running a high total reaching in 26 straight.
“You’ve got to get on base to score runs. You’ve got to hit or walk or do something positive to get on base. You’ve got to score runs to win baseball games. Hitting leadoff that’s one of my main objectives to get on base and score runs.”
Grossman was a sixth round pick of the Pirates back in 2008, given more than a million in signing bonus money to forgoe a commitment to the University of Texas. Since then he has run into some setbacks in his short career. After striking out more than 160 times during his first full season he batted only .245 last year with the Marauders and a lot of outside sources began to doubt his eventual value to the big club. Baseball America dropped him from a Top 10 prospect two years ago to prospect No. 25 in the organization in its rankings this year. But then you stop for a second and realize that had he gone to college he’d have just been drafted and embarking on his pro career this season. He’s 21 and killing the Florida State League. If he keeps it up he could easily be in the Majors by 23. Something tells me he’ll be back in the Top 10 in the magazine’s 2012 Prospect Handbook publication.
And as far as Marauders manager Carlos Garcia is concerned, Grossman sort of reminds him of one of his old Pirates teammates. When he was drafted, many sources drew the Robbie Grossman-Lenny Dykstra comparison. Garcia pointed to Andy Van Slyke.
I can see it now…”Where Have You Gone Robbie Grossman?”…A Pittsburgh Pirates fan blog.
P.S. How lucky are Marauders fans in two seasons. Last year they get Quincy Latimore becoming just the ninth Pirates farmhand to drive in 100 runs. This year they get Grossman turning in one of the greatest minor league baseball seasons over the last several years. Don’t you love hyperbole when it’s true.
Till next time