One of the bigger questions I had coming out of the 2011 season is just how scouts and prospect rankers would view Robbie Grossman’s breakout year in Bradenton. He’s not a traditional prospect with so much value tied up in walk rate and OBP, which makes him harder to project and get a read on.
We’ve got a bit of an answer today as Baseball America released their list of the Top 20 prospects in the Florida State League, and Grossman wasn’t on the list. In fact, no Pirates were on the list at all. Bradenton wasn’t exactly a hotbed of prospects when the season began, but Grossman and Ramon Cabrera and Elevys Gonzalez and even, to an extent, Jarek Cunningham all had breakouts that were fairly age-appropriate for the level (I think Kyle McPherson would be considered for the Eastern League since he spent most of the year at Double-A, not that I’d expect him to be on this list at the age of 23). This isn’t the end of the world for any of them, of course, because performance rules all and because they’ll all likely be in Altoona next year and people will be watching them more closely to determine if they can replicate their breakouts. It’s just worth noting, to me, that a place like Baseball America is being conservative about the performance of these players.
As a sidenote, Grossman and Cunningham and this guy named Gerrit Cole (and Brock Holt and Phil Irwin and Michael Colla and Nate Baker) all roll into action with the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League starting tomorrow. With Cole out there and with two interesting guys like Cunningham and Grossman still playing, I’ll do my best to post regular updates this fall.
UPDATE: BA’s Jim Callis answered some questions about Grossman in two tweets, saying that his stats are better than his tools and he’s not sure that he’ll make a solid regular, and that he’s a tweener with no plus tools.