Detroit Tigers: A deep dive into Robbie Grossman’s 2021 season

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers handed out their first multi-year contract in what feels like forever to outfielder Robbie Grossman. The two-year contract is worth $10 million and frankly is a great investment by the organization.

He may not be performing as well as he would like, but there’s something to be said about Grossman’s statistics. The Detroit Tigers have been more than fine with how Grossman’s season has been, yet he is not okay with it.

Most would be fine with a player being atop the team at getting on-base and hitting for power, but Grossman is trying to be more of a complete hitter. According to Grossman, there’s more that needs to be done to iron things out offensively.

There’s plenty to like with what he has shown. Grossman made changes to his swing to change how he utilizes launch angle and it has led to some power being discovered. It’s just time to continue making some changes and hope to make his hitting even more complete.

Robbie Grossman was a great signing by the Detroit Tigers.

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Grossman patrols the outfield for the Tigers and should be kept around for the rest of this year and not be moved at the 2021 trade deadline.

It seems like Grossman has a chance to really wind up being more than worth it for the Tigers organization.

In 2021, Grossman has logged 96 games played where he has slashed .226/.352/.403 with 15 home runs and 46 total RBI.

He’s been walked 65 times but has also been punched out 99 times. There are a few things to take away from Grossman’s stats and Statcast data.

Grossman made changes to his swing to improve his launch angle. Before anyone even starts with the “launch angle” and “analytics” talk, relax.

There are two sides to baseball, what you see and what the data says. These two don’t compete against each other, they work together. In this case, you would see good swings and a good job barreling the baseball as is seen in Grossman’s at-bats and swings.

The data proves that. He’s been able to lift the ball more in his swing, his average launch angle is higher than it has ever been, being more in the 20-degree range which is more desirable for homers and doubles.

Speaking to the eye test and Grossman barreling up the baseball, data confirms this as well. Grossman’s barrel percentage is 8.7% which is the highest he has ever produced over his career. Based on those two things, it seems like Grossman’s got no issues. The issues come with his 99 strikeouts that were mentioned above.

It’s really not that big of a statistical anomaly though. The only thing that is alarming with the plate discipline metrics is his whiffing. Selectiveness is not an issue, he’s seeing pitches well and making good judgments as his on-base percentage shows.

For Grossman, it’s a matter of swinging and missing or making contact. Given that he is trying to lift the baseball and drive the ball in the air, he may be willing to whiff more. He’s got a swing plane that is going to work against some opponents and struggle against others.

In those cases, he may be more apt to whiff, hypothetically, which may be the reason for this. If he can cut this down further and try to ensure when he is swinging, he’s going to do damage. It might cut down the punchouts and help him get that average creeping back upwards.

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Nonetheless, the Detroit Tigers got it right with Robbie Grossman.