Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Robbie Grossman is putting up MVP-like numbers for Class A Advanced Bradenton. On Thursday, he wrote his name into the record books for another reason.
The right fielder went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and his 100th walk of the season in the Marauders' 3-1 win over the Charlotte Stone Crabs. In doing so, he became the first Minor Leaguer to score 100 runs and draw 100 walks since Nick Swisher accomplished the feat for Triple-A Sacramento in 2004.
"It was pretty awesome. It's a blessing to get to play baseball and it's paid off," Grossman said. "I'm a leadoff hitter, so I know my role and I know what I have to do to help the team win.
"I look up to Nick Swisher a lot. He's a switch-hitter like me and he's a darn good Major Leaguer. He's played for a long time and to be mentioned in the same sentence is a blessing."
Grossman became just the third player in the Florida State League since 2000 to score 100 runs in a season when he scored from second base on Evan Chambers' RBI single in the seventh inning of the Marauders' 6-1 win over Brevard County on July 31. It took 14 more games for him to collect his 100th base on balls.
"[Michael Jarman] started me off with a ball," Grossman said. "He threw a strike and then spun a curve in for strike two, but then he threw me three balls. I was trying not to think about it too much. I was just trying to be professional in my approach.
"I always felt like I had a pretty good eye, but it has really blossomed this year. I've been patient. When I've got a pitch to hit, I've been swinging. But if not, I've been taking it."
While Grossman's patience might be a big reason behind his .424 on-base percentage -- the second-highest mark in the Florida State League behind Tyler Bortnick (.430) -- Grossman gives a lot of credit to his teammates behind him in the lineup who have been responsible for moving him around the bases and getting him in.
"[Jarek] Cunningham, [Adalberto] Santos, [Aaron] Baker who was just traded and [Ramon} Cabrera have done an outstanding job. They have done just as much as I have," the 21-year-old explained. "We're playing well this year and we're in a good position to win the second half."
The Texas native, who has reached base in 78 of his last 79 games, leads the league in runs scored (111) and walks.
No Florida State League player has finished in the top 20 in runs since at least 2005, and a player from the hitter-friendly California League has finished the season as the Minor League leader in the category every season since 2006. Grossman is one run behind Tacoma Rainiers' slugger Alex Liddi for the Minor League lead.
Grossman, who had a 14-game hitting streak earlier this season, extended his league-leading on-base streak to 41 games with a third-inning home run to right-center field. During his streak, he is batting .312 with five homers and 23 RBIs.
Two days before his streak began July 3, Grossman saw his 37-game consecutive on-base streak snapped in a 3-2 win at home to Palm Beach.
On Thursday, Merrill Kelly (8-5) took the win for the Marauders. He allowed three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two batters over six innings.