When the Detroit Tigers signed Robbie Grossman to a two-year deal in the off-season, it was not the player Tigers may have thought to be the first player since Justin Upton to sign for more than one year.
But after five games, the difference Grossman has made early on to the Tigers lineup has been able to keep the Tigers in games, and today, he was one of the main forces in today’s game against the Twins, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and with an intentional walk in extra innings that set up the game-winning single by Akil Baddoo to drive in Harold Castro.
He got his first hit as a Tiger with an RBI double off J.A. Happ.
In the fifth inning against reliever Cody Stashak, he took several close pitches before his second RBI on the day with a single to left.
The six walks in the first two games were a big reason that Detroit started the season 2-0 against a formable Cleveland pitching staff. He walked 21 times in 192 plate appearances in the shortened 2020 season.
Way too early nerdy stats time:
Robbie Grossman walked 8 times in his first three games as a Tiger which is something that is a rare sight recently. Only Norm Cash, who walked 9 times in the team’s first four games in 1967 is the only other Tigers player with more and after the walk today, he has 9 in five games.
The front office made it a priority to get a player who can get on base and with some speed and Grossman has shown both so far. The stolen base by Grossman this year has made him now 9-for-10 in steal attempts going back to last season.
The slash line is one of the strangest ones so far I have seen so far way early in the season .167/.500/.250 with an OPS of .750.
As far as the Tigers outfield is concerned, Grossman’s ability to get on base was needed. As a collective in 2020, they walked just 5.7% of the time, which put them dead last in baseball and their .292 OPS put them at 27th.
While the walks are at a torrid pace and not likely to keep up, it is a good first step in the right direction by the Tigers to identify players like Grossman as the rebuild continues.