Detroit Tigers’ Robbie Grossman could improve one aspect of his game

(Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports)
(Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Tigers signed Robbie Grossman to a two-year, $10 million contract that leaves in the Motor City through the 2022 season. He’s certainly proven to be a worthy signing and looked great on the field for the Tigers so far.

While the Detroit Tigers saw him go out and handsomely outperform expectations and have a breakout season, there is still more to be expected. If the Tigers want to see Grossman continue to get better overall, working on his fielding could do the trick.

It’s not that his fielding is putrid; there are just times where he’s out there looking like he’s out for a leisurely Sunday stroll when it comes to chasing balls down.

While the header image for this story shows him making a sliding catch which is fantastic hustle and effort, it seems like there was sometimes, he was moving so leisurely on balls that may have been able to be caught or doubles capped at singles, or triples capped at doubles.

There’s a lot of factors that can go into those things happening, but if Grossman is able to provide some hustle every play and is able to really get his routes down, he could pick up a few more outs for the Tigers.

Detroit Tigers outfielder Robbie Grossman could improve his fielding.

His metrics support this idea. According to Baseball Savant‘s rankings at the top of his profile, Grossman ranks in the following percentiles for fielding categories.

  • Spring Speed: 68th percentile
  • Outfielder Jump: 54th percentile
  • Outs Above Average: 22nd percentile

While Grossman is now Austin Jackson or Terrance Gore when it comes to speed and tracking down balls, those top two metrics would imply that he’s speedy enough to get to the ball. To me, this means that his routes to the ball may not always be the best, or his hustle is not always there.

Supported by what I saw watching games last year, it brings me to the third metric from the bulleted list, outs above average. With both of the top two numbers on the right side of fifty, it’s hard to see how his outs above average can be that low.

It all comes back to this idea that his routes could be improved upon, and he just really needs to be ready to go every single pitch and not take a play “off.” It’s hard to sit here and criticize him for taking plays off when his offense easily was a vital benefit to the Tigers 2021 performance.

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But if the Tigers want to get the most out of Grossman in the 2022 season and decide whether it’s worth bringing him back or not, ensuring that his defensive efforts are ramped up a bit might help their cause.