The Curious Case of Robbie Grossman

Remember the steady, generally reliable, and overall decent leadoff hitter that the Detroit Tigers boasted last year in Robbie Grossman? Of course, you already know he’s still with the team this year. But you might not recognize him based on the eyeball test so far this season.

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To this point of the season, the stats are incredibly underwhelming. Primarily in the leadoff spot of the order when he plays, Grossman has accumulated an extremely subpar batting average of .189 (25 hits in 132 at-bats). The power and extra-base ability have gone completely silent, as he has not hit a home run yet this year and has just five doubles. Strikeouts have been a true concern as well, as he’s struck out in a whopping 48 of those 132 at-bats (36.3%).

For the sake of comparison, Grossman finished last season with a .239 average. Not world-beating, but certainly better production than this year. He was one of three Tigers players (also including Eric Haase and Jonathan Schoop) to top 20 home runs, with a total of 23. Adding his 23 doubles and three triples, he finished the season with 49 extra-base hits and sported an on-base percentage of .357. At this pace, he is not even remotely close to the numbers from last season.

However, Grossman did find headlines for a good reason recently, as he set a Major League record for most consecutive games by a position player without committing an error. Unfortunately for him, though, his struggles at the plate have been much more evident.

A.J. Hinch Is Aware Of Robbie Grossman’s Struggles

Manager A.J. Hinch has not been blind to Grossman’s struggles, either. Hinch sat Grossman for a “mental health day” yesterday, taking him out of the lineup for a game. “It’s entirely about his struggles,” Hinch told the Detroit News. “We’re seeing it impact him more and more every day. It’s weighing on him. That he’s not controlling the strike zone is the biggest indicator for him. He’s usually one day away from everything clicking, but it hasn’t been good for him.

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Over the last eight games that he has played in, he has hit at a 4-28 clip (.143 average). As a whole, the season hasn’t gone very well for many of the Tigers’ players.

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Unfortunately for Grossman, though, it is extremely hard not to notice when the table-setter goes this cold for this long. Grossman is a consummate professional and certainly can right the ship. But, the team may be forced to look at different options at the leadoff spot if he cannot get it turned around sooner than later.

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