At the time of this writing, there are 37 major league hitters with a wRC+ of 150 or higher. There are the usual suspects: Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Nolan Arenado are on the leaderboard to no one’s surprise. There are exciting young prospects, including Mitch Haniger, Aaron Judge, and Joey Gallo. Then there are unexpected names like Eric Thames, Cesar Hernandez, and Robbie Grossman.
Lengthy articles could be, and have been, written about any of the players above. One player who hasn’t received much publicity despite some relatively prolonged success is Grossman.
He checks in with a 158 wRC+ in 67 plate appearances so far this year. Steamer projects a .322 wOBA and 99 wRC+ for the rest of the season (ROS), and that projection puts him just a few ticks behind his highly-touted teammate Max Kepler. Although Kepler is three years younger and may have a higher ceiling, the point is that name recognition can play a pretty big role in how we analyze players.
Also, Grossman used to be bad. From 2013 to 2015, he had just a .281 wOBA and 77 wRC+ in 202 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, despite being a switch hitter. Since 2016, however, Grossman has a .417 wOBA and 166 wRC+ in 170 plate appearances against lefties. Even with his early-career struggles against lefties, Grossman now has a lifetime .344 wOBA and 118 wRC+ against them. Read the rest of this entry »