Robbie Grossman: The Oakland A’s best hitter thus far
By David Hill
Robbie Grossman has been the Oakland A’s best hitter in 2020, and it has not been close.
Robbie Grossman had a solid career before joining the Oakland A’s. He had been a respectable fourth outfielder, providing doubles power and some speed. Grossman was never going to be confused for a top home run threat, with a career best 11 homers back in 2016, but he had hit over 20 doubles in each of the past three years, providing roughly league average production.
However, this season, the A’s have needed someone to step up. Marcus Semien, their 2019 MVP candidate, has been miserable this season. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman have been solid, but not transcendent.
Enter Grossman. Heading into Thursday’s slate of action, he has been the A’s best hitter, and it has not been close. He has produced a .292/.452/.615 batting line, each of which would be a career best. His 198 OPS+ is 69 points ahead of Ramon Laureano, who is second amongst the A’s typical starters.
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Grossman has also displayed surprising power considering his typical production. In 84 plate appearances, he has five doubles and four homers, putting himself on pace for just his second career double digit home run campaign. He has even chipped in four steals in five attempts, giving the A’s excellent all around production.
This may not just be a hot start to the season. He worked with A’s hitting coach Darren Bush to get even more out of his swing, changing his body position and using his legs more. His barrel rate, which had been in the bottom seven percent of the league in each of the past two seasons, has jumped from 2.4% in 2019 to 9.8% this year. His hard hit rate has understandably increased as well, climbing to 35.3%.
As with any change, one will need to see how it will last through the season. Pitchers will find a way to adjust, with Grossman looking to adjust to counter. To this point, he has been one of the A’s best hitters, something that does not look like it will change any time soon.
The Oakland A’s needed someone to step up in their lineup. Robbie Grossman is doing exactly that.