The Oakland Athletics have been one of the American League’s quieter success stories the last two years. Back-to-back seasons of 97 wins, but no luck in the coin-flip playoff round. It’s a deep team and a fun team, no matter that they play in a ballpark that doubles as a sewage dump.
You want a piece of this story? Maybe Robbie Grossman is your ticket in.
Grossman has stealthy snuck into the lineup this year, settling in as the starting left-fielder. He’s started 17 of 23 games, including the last eight in a row. And the way he’s producing, he might never leave the lineup. His latest home run splashed into the Arizona swimming pool.
Grossman’s slash line is too good to be true — .300/.455/.633. He’s homered four times and (this gets overlooked a lot) also stolen four bases. His career slash is a modest .254/.354/.379, so I understand if you’re concerned long-term. Only the on-base number stands as a notable skill. And we’re talking about a 30-year-old journeyman (31 in September) who’s never posted a full season of fantasy relevance.
Nonetheless, when I see plausible upside, I make moves. Grossman has more walks than strikeouts, and whenever a player shows that type of plate dominance, I’m interested. The category juice speaks for itself. Do you know how many players have more than four stolen bases this year? A whopping nine guys. (A dare you to name all nine; there are some doozies on that list.)
It’s possible Oakland might consider Grossman a platoon player, since he’s often sat against lefties. It’s a curious move, since he’s a switch-hitter and his career slash is a little better against lefties. But Wait for Proof is a dead fantasy strategy, especially in 2020. And over the next seven games, Oakland faces six more right-handed opponents. (Given Khris Davis’s horrible start, Grossman might get some of those southpaw assignments, anyway.)
If you’re in the mood to kick the tires, Grossman is unrostered in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues. Maybe he’s not a perfect fit for all formats, but for medium and deeper mixed leagues, I’m on board.