One of the open battles as we came into Spring was the one for left field, or potentially a fourth outfielder spot. The Twins added JB Shuck, Drew Stubbs and Quintin Berry with the expectation that they might compete for one of those final spots on the roster. We have heard a bit about the back end of the rotation, the fight for spots in the infield and even the fight to be Jason Castro’s back up catcher, but it’s been pretty quiet on the outfield, despite all of those new options.
It seems almost like the Twins are trying to use Grossman to the point of failure. He has been used in 13 games so far this spring, which is more than anyone but Zach Granite and Daniel Palka, other long shot candidates for an outfield bench spot. Palka has put together a better OPS, but his walk rate is unreasonably high, which makes his .188 average concerning. Granite is only major league ready on the defensive side of the ball, and his bat isn’t quite ready for the Major Leagues.
Grossman’s stat line is much stronger than his other, veteran competition as well. Stubbs is batting .178. Shuck is at .136 and Berry has been used in only one game. There really isn’t a compelling argument for Grossman to be left off the roster, at least not one that has come up this spring. The primary question right now is whether or not he will take a lot of time away from Eddie Rosario in left field. I have to believe that is a possibility as well, given how poorly Rosario performed in cold weather last year, and the fact that Rosario is better against righties, but Grossman is a tick better against lefties.
The battles for other spots on the roster have perhaps proven a bit more challenging than the Twins were hoping, and injuries have garbled the rotation, but at least there is one question on the roster that has already been answered.