Detroit Tigers: Robbie Grossman slated for outfield starting job in 2021

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Tigers signed outfielder Robbie Grossman earlier in the offseason, and as Spring Training draws near, early speculation might have him as the starting left fielder. The Tigers have a collection of outfielders, but Grossman will look to be the team’s starting left fielder in 2021.

He will be an intriguing player to watch after making some changes to his swing, allowing him to generate more power and drive the ball better. More on this later, but it already seems like Grossman might poke his way into the Detroit Tigers starting lineup daily.

The switch-hitting outfielder played for new Tigers manager A.J. Hinch early on when with the Houston Astros. He turned some things around with the Oakland Athletics these past two seasons and now finds himself playing for Hinch once again, hopefully with a much better statistical outcome.

Currently, the Tigers have Grossman along with Akil Baddoo, Harold Castro, Travis Demeritte, JaCoby Jones, and Victor Reyes slated to be fighting for positions. While Castro is a utility player and not going to be vying for a starting position.

With the Detroit Tigers outfield picture coming into view, Robbie Grossman sure seems like he has earned a starting gig.

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The way it stands, Robbie Grossman slots in the left-field spot, Jones in center field, and Reyes in right-field.

But that being said, is the change he has made going to be enough to earn a consistent starting job? It seems like it is, but a look at his stats and hitting metrics paint a better picture.

In 2019, Grossman played in 138 games where he hit .240/.334/.348 with 27 extra-base hits, six home runs, and 38 RBI.

Last season in 2020, Grossman played in 51 games where he hit .241/.344/.482 with 20 extra-base hits, eight home runs, and 23 RBI.

But a further look into his exit velocity numbers shows that he has steadily increased in this category. In 2015 when he came into the league, he was at 84.6 mph. In 2019, Grossman had moved up to 87.7mph, and in 2020 he was at 89.0 mph.

Beyond that, his barrel percentage had increased from 1.9% in the 2018 season to 2.1% in 2019 and 5.1% last season. Finally, the percentage of hard-hit balls has also been on the rise since 2017. But the last two years, he has taken his hard-hit percentage from 30.7% to 37.8% in his two seasons in Oakland.

There definitely is some intrigue with how Grossman’s adjustments have allowed him to be better in the box. The hope is that he can show similar metrics in the Motor City, and it seems that he will be the organization’s left fielder during the 2021 season.

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The Detroit Tigers signed Robbie Grossman this offseason, and he is poised to be starting in left field when Opening Day rolls around.