How the Rangers Outfield Shapes Up with Addition of Robbie Grossman

Former Braves outfielder Robbie Grossman sat out in free agency for the duration of the offseason, but he’s now heads to Texas. The Rangers had been linked to an outfield move for weeks, as its trio of regulars from last year put up unspectacular numbers. Now, the Rangers have a switch-hitter who seems poised to be a platoon bat for Texas in 2023.

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A Look at Grossman

It’s been an interesting three seasons for outfielder Robbie Grossman, who put up strong numbers in 2020-21 before a rough 2022 campaign. Prior to 2020, Grossman saw regular playing time with both Minnesota and Oakland. While the switch-hitter didn’t put up amazing power numbers in his first eight seasons, Grossman had a knack for working counts and making decent contact.

Grossman, however, broke out in 2020 as an Oakland Athletic. Grossman hit eight home runs and 22 extra base hits in 51 games with Oakland, and set a career-high in SLG (.482). While Grossman didn’t replicate that SLG figure with Detroit in 2021, the new Ranger did hit a career-high 23 home runs for the Tigers and walked 98 times, good for fourth in the MLB that season.

Grossman’s numbers fell in last season, though. Between Detroit and Atlanta, Grossman hit .209/.310/.311 with seven home runs and 27 extra base hits in 129 games. While the 33-year-old still displayed a penchant for staying patient and drawing walks, Grossman’s Chase%, Whiff%, and K% rates all went in the opposite direction.

Set to enter his eleventh season in the Majors, Grossman has long been a strong hitter against left-handed pitchers. But as Grossman’s career splits suggest, the same can’t be said against right-handed pitchers:

  • LHP: .279/.377/.413, 1.9% HR%
  • RHP: .232/.335/.363, 2.1% HR%

Grossman is set to join an Rangers outfield that includes slugger Adolis Garcia, Leody Taveras, Bubba Thompson, and Brad Miller.

What it Means

The Texas Rangers own a stacked infield, but the outfield is filled with question marks. Right fielder Adolis Garcia has proven to be a potent power hitter, but it’s still a mystery as to how things will shake out on the corners. Both Leody Taveras and Bubba Thompson recorded decent batting averages last season, yet neither hit for much power or showed much discipline at the plate.

Discipline and getting on-base proved to be a problem, in general, for the Rangers last season. Texas owned the seventh-worst OBP (.301) in baseball last season. While Grossman won’t solve that problem entirely, his arrival should give Texas some options for left field next season

Grossman could prove to be a useful platoon corner outfielder or DH for the Rangers, at the very least. But, one has to wonder whether the Rangers look to make a more substantial move for an outfielder later in the year. Texas has been one of the teams associated with Bryan Reynolds, who said at Spring Training that he would be willing to stay in Pittsburgh past 2025 if the Pirates offer a fair extension.

If the outfield continues to be a sore spot, the noise for the Rangers to add another piece may only get louder.

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