Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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Robbie Grossman is a Tiger

After signing José Ureña about two weeks ago, Detroit has reached a deal with another free agent: outfielder Robbie Grossman. The contract is for two years and $10 million, included in which are performance bonuses that can total up to $500 thousand annually.

Grossman performed quite well in the shortened 2020 season, hitting at a level twenty-six percent above league average (126 wRC+). In each of the last four seasons, he walked more than ten percent of the time and struck out less than twenty percent of the time. In this most recent campaign, he actually hit two more home runs than he did in the year prior — eight compared to six — despite stepping up to the plate 290 fewer times. His slugging percentage in 2020 (.482) is a new career high.

Steamer projects Grossman to provide slightly above average offense in 2021 (.327 wOBA). His predictive weighted on-base average (pwOBA), which is more predictive of future wOBA than wOBA and xwOBA are, was .327(!) in 2020. pwOBA is similar to wOBA, but its goal is to be predictive before descriptive. Unlike Steamer, pwOBA is formulated off of only one year of data. It’s a predictive stat, not a projection system, so it doesn’t factor in aging.

wOBA componenets

  • K%
  • BB%
  • HBP%
  • wOBAcon

pwOBA components

  • Regressed K%
  • pBB% (predictive walk percentage)
  • Regressed HBP%
  • pwOBAcon (predictive weighted on-base average on contact)

A .327 wOBA would have been roughly four percent better than the league average wOBA in 2020 (.315). His pwOBA+ was 100 and 102 in 2019 and 2018 (respectively).

I think it’s fair to say that Grossman will supply at least average offense, which would easily bolster a Detroit offense that had an ugly-looking 89 wRC+ this past season.

Robbie Grossman is also capable of contributing on the bases. In 2020, he stole eight bases in 51 games. His sprint speed ranked in the 66th percentile in 2019 and 2020.

His defense has been good in that time frame as well, as he has an outs above average of 6.

Only eight qualified position players had at least eight stolen bases, at least eight home runs, and a .240 isolated power (ISO) or higher in 2020.

  1. Robbie Grossman
  2. José Ramírez
  3. Mookie Betts
  4. Fernando Tatis Jr.
  5. Trea Turner
  6. Ronald Acuña Jr.
  7. Bryce Harper
  8. Kyle Tucker

Two years and ten million dollars seems very team-friendly, especially for a rebuilding squad; the contract is not long-term and is not expensive. At worst, Grossman plays at the caliber of a fourth outfielder. At best, he is an average everyday player. The Tigers could be getting one of those — at a bargain — in Robbie Grossman.

Featured image from Baseball Savant