Robbie Grossman

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Robert Edward Grossman

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Biographical Information[edit]

Robbie Grossman made his big league debut in 2013.

Grossman played for Team USA in the 2007 Junior Pan American Games, hitting .450/.478/.450 to lead the team's starters in average. He hit 11 homers as a high school senior and committed to the University of Texas. Due to the college commitment, he fell to the 5th round of the 2008 amateur draft before being chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Baseball America had rated him as the #49 prospect entering the draft. He was signed by scout Mike Leuzinger shortly before the deadline, for a $1 million bonus and a paid college education. It was a Pirates signing bonus record for such a late round.

Grossman made his pro debut for the GCL Pirates on August 20th, going 0 for 3 with a walk, strikeout and steal against the GCL Red Sox. He only got to play 5 games that first year, given his late signing, going 3 for 18. In 2009, he was the principal centerfielder with the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League, playing 116 games with a batting line of .266/.373/.355. He showed good speed, scoring 83 runs and stealing 35 bases in 47 tries. He was second among Pirates farmhands in steals (behind Jose de los Santos) and led Pirate minor leaguers in runs, walks (75) and strikeouts (164). He was among the SAL leaders in runs (3rd behind Scott Robinson and Steve Lombardozzi Jr.), steals (tied for 5th with Donnie Webb), walks (2nd, trailing Derek Norris) and strikeouts (3rd).

In 2010 however, he fell to .245/.344/.345 in 125 games for the Bradenton Marauders of the Florida State League. He only had four home runs and stole 15 bases in 23 tries. He did draw 66 walks, cut his strikeout total significantly (to 118) and scored 84 runs. He was among the FSL leaders in runs (tied for 3rd with teammate Quincy Latimore, behind Erik Komatsu and Anthony Gose) and walks (2nd, two shy of leader Komatsu).

The Pirates elected to have him repeat the level in 2011, and he improved significantly, with a batting line of .294/.418/.451 in 134 games. He scored 127 runs, hit 34 doubles and 13 homers and drew 104 walks. He had moved to right field that season. He was the first minor leaguer since Nick Swisher (2004) to have 100 runs and 100 walks in the same year. No minor leaguer had scored 127 runs since 2005. He easily led the FSL in runs (31 more than runner-up Tyler Bortnick), tied Bortnick for 5th in doubles, was second to Bortnick in OBP, ranked 5th in OPS and led in walks. He led Pirates farmhands in OBP. He was named to the FSL All-Star outfield alongside Kyle Jensen and Evan Crawford. In all of the affiliated minors, he led in both runs (6 over Alex Liddi) and walks (one ahead of Jaff Decker). He was the Pirates' Minor League Player of the Year. He then excelled in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .375 with a .472 OBP and 7 home runs. He was second in the AFL in average, 3rd in OBP and 4th in average. Unfortunately, he fractured the hamate bone in his right hand on November 8, a major setback. Baseball America ranked him as Pittsburgh's #8 prospect (between Tony Sanchez and Stetson Allie) but did not list him among the top 20 in the FSL, though they did say he had the best strike-zone judgement in that loop.

He was back in center field for the Altoona Curve of the AA Eastern League in 2012. In 94 games, he hit .262/.374/.403, and he drew 58 walks and scored 58 runs while banging 20 doubles and 7 homers while recovering from an injury noted for sapping power for a time. He was traded to the Houston Astros on July 24th, alongside Colton Cain and Rudy Owens - in return for veteran pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. His stock had fallen in the Pirates' eyes as Starling Marte was appearing ready to join Andrew McCutchen in the majors soon and they had added two outfield prospects in the 2011-2012 drafts in Josh Bell and Barrett Barnes. He finished the season by hitting .267/.371/.422 in 36 games for the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League, giving him a combined batting line of .266/.376/.410 with 28 doubles, 10 homers. 77 walks, 81 runs and 47 RBI in 131 games.

Grossman began the 2013 season by playing in AAA for the first time, with the Oklahoma City RedHawks. He was hitting .324/.452/.353 with 16 walks after 19 games when the Astros called him up to the Show on April 23rd, to replace CF Justin Maxwell who had suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch that day. In his major league debut on April 24th, he went 2 for 5 with a run scored and a pair of strikeouts in a 10-3 win over the Seattle Mariners. Hitting leadoff and playing center field, he grounded out against Joe Saunders his first time up. His first hit came an at-bat later, on a ground-rule double. He played 63 games for Houston, splitting time between left field and center field. His batting line was .268/.332/.370, with 14 doubles and 4 homers. He won the starting left field job for the Astros in spring training in 2014, but failed to hit in the early going. After 14 games, his average stood at .125, with 17 strikeouts. On April 16th, he was sent down to AAA with top prospect George Springer being called up to take his place.

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