ANAHEIM -- Since joining the Twins on a Minor League contract in mid-May of last season, Robbie Grossman has been one of the more underrated hitters in baseball.Since his Twins debut on May 20, 2016, the outfielder/designated hitter has batted .280/.394/.449 with 17 homers, 74 runs and 56 RBIs in
ANAHEIM -- Since joining the Twins on a Minor League contract in mid-May of last season, Robbie Grossman has been one of the more underrated hitters in baseball.
Since his Twins debut on May 20, 2016, the outfielder/designated hitter has batted .280/.394/.449 with 17 homers, 74 runs and 56 RBIs in 140 games, entering Saturday. His .394 on-base percentage is the eighth highest in baseball over that span, and ahead of stars such as Kristopher Bryant, Buster Posey and Jose Altuve. It's also the highest on-base percentage in Twins history with a minimum of 140 games played, ahead of Hall of Famer Rod Carew's .393 mark in Minnesota.
"It's been great to have the opportunity," said Grossman, who was a top prospect with the Pirates before playing parts of three season with the Astros. "I'm just trying to continue to get better every day and I feel like I am."
His success isn't an accident, as Grossman is almost always among the first to the ballpark, and is diligent in his preparation techniques, using video of opposing pitchers to his advantage. Before each series, he watches video of every pitcher the opposing club has, takes notes and revisits the videos before each game, looking for trends and tells.
"You get out of it as much as you put into it," Grossman said. "We get all the video uploaded onto iPads and I watch it. I have a certain way I go about it, watching it and then going into the cage. It all goes into my approach. A lot of failure has helped me prepare for what I do."
It hasn't gone unnoticed by Twins manager Paul Molitor, who notes that Grossman is one of his club's most difficult outs because of his strike zone judgment and patience at the plate. He's walked 29 times this year compared to 25 strikeouts.
"He competes in the batter's box as well as anybody on our team," Molitor said. "Last year, he swung better against left-handed pitching but he was adamant in the spring that isn't who he is and that he believes he's just as good on both sides. You know he's going to take a good at-bat kinda like [Joe] Mauer, taking his walks and getting on base. And he's supplied some power, too."
As Molitor noted, the switch-hitting Grossman hit .242/.367/.362 against right-handers last year, but has improved to .301/.398/.527 against righties this year. Grossman is also swinging earlier in the count, as he went 6-for-34 against first pitches last year, but is 10-for-23 with two homers on first pitches this season.
"I've noticed that," Molitor said. "At first, it kinda caught me off-guard when he'd ambush. He's a guy who does a lot of his damage getting deep into counts and drawing walks so a lot of guys try to get ahead with strike one, so it's something he can do to counter it."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.