If you're a sharp player who was in need of an outfielder in a 15 or 12-team league, chances are you snatched up Robbie Grossman this past Sunday with either a tiny FAAB bid or a modest one in a 15-team league. Although, I'm sure some 15-team owners took a flier already and are enjoying the benefits. Regardless, Grossman, who is now hitting .290/.443/.609 with four steals, emerged earlier this season as a really interesting outfielder for one of the best teams in baseball.
THE SITUATION: Grossman, a switch-hitting outfielder, is owned in 51.0% of NFBC 12-team Rotowire Online Championship leagues. Even after Ramon Laureano returned from suspension, Grossman has remained an everyday presence in the lineup. The A's have the best shot of anyone to win the AL West and simply can't afford to take at-bats away from a red-hot player, like Grossman, to try to get a struggling bat going.
THE BREAKDOWN: How did a 30-year-old, consistently unremarkable switch-hitting outfielder go from one of the many A's platoon pieces to a guy who can't stop mashing? Let's look at the swings beginning with a 2019 clip:
You'll notice there isn't a whole lot going on with the feet or legs prior to the swing, and the one-handed finish to end the follow through. That was one of the hardest hit balls of the year for Grossman in 2019. Now, let's look at 2020:
Compared to the 2019 swing, you'll notice Grossman has a lot more going on with his front leg. He added a leg kick this year, and while this doesn't look like an overhauled swing, the simple change has allowed him to tap more into his athleticism and lower half.
To put it simply, this is also a swing with more intent to do damage with a little bit of a shorter, quicker barrel to the ball. Also, notice the two-handed, shorter finish as Grossman rotates his hips and uses his lower half with added violence compared to 2019.
The added power - career-best .490 xSLG, .397 xwOBACON, 36.4 hard hit%, 9.1 barrel% and 89.1 MPH average exit velocity - is standing out the most, but Grossman isn't sacrificing his excellent discipline to chase more power. In fact, his 17.0 BB% is a big increase from already solid previous marks, and his K% is actually down from 17.8% to 15.9%. He's swinging at more pitches in the strike zone, more meatballs, and is hitting more fly balls.
SHOULD I FAAB?: If he's still available in your league, absolutely. He's now a five-category contributor on a great team. It's rare to find this quality of a bat this late in the year on the waiver wire. He'll likely require a sizable bid, but considering the influx of prospects and other players filling the FAAB lists this week, he could go cheaper than he would under normal circumstances.
Coming up this week, Oakland plays seven games, including a four-game set at the struggling Rangers and a three-game set in Houston.
Photos courtesy AP Images and videos courtesy Baseball Savant