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Robbie Grossman Heading Toward Unique Season

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UPDATE: Trevor Gooby of the Pirates just wrote to tell me about this Facebook campaign on Grossman's behalf.

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RumBunter drew my attention to this blog post, which notes that Robbie Grossman will soon draw his 100th walk of the season, making him the first minor-leaguer since Nick Swisher in 2004 to score 100 runs and walk 100 times in a season.

recently wrote about why drawing tons of walks isn't Class A+ ball isn't necessarily the mark of a great prospect, but there's no doubt that Grossman's season is heading into some really strange territory. In the week and a half since the blog post linked in the first paragraph was written, Grossman's walks have really slowed down, as he has none in his past seven games. But he still could wind up with something like 115 to 120 walks, which is an amazing number.

By the way, Grossman's manager, Carlos Garcia, compares him to Andy Van Slyke. Obviously, Grossman won't have anything resembling Van Slyke's defensive value, but offensively, that's a realistic comparison, although still a pretty optimistic one. Van Slyke didn't have the intense strikeout issues Grossman had at the start of his pro career, but now that Grossman has tamed those a bit, Van Slyke provides a good template - he didn't hit for terribly high averages in the minors, but he drew walks, stole bases and had a bit of power, and he made that formula work for him in the majors. Grossman is about a year behind Van Slyke developmentally, and there's a pretty strong chance he won't make it, but Van Slyke provides a reasonable idea of Grossman's realistic offensive upside.

(Side note: Lenny Dykstra comes up in the article too, so I looked up Dykstra's minor league numbers. They're insane. As a 20-year-old at Class A+ ball in 1983, Dykstra drew 107 walks and struck out 35 times. He also hit .358 and stole 105 bases.)