Robinson's Goals Are Simple

Each year a small wave of new talent at the position of catcher enters the Cubs' farm system, usually by way of the draft. But one of the more recent additions behind the plate came not from the draft a year ago, but by trade in the form of 22-year-old Chris Robinson.

Robinson joined the Cubs late last season from the Detroit Tigers, who parted ways with one of their top catching prospects for Neifi Perez.

After joining the Cubs, Robinson was near the top of his game at the plate, batting .356 in 12 games with Daytona. Albeit a small sample size, his numbers might suggest that something extra clicked once joining his new team, but that wasn't necessarily the case, he says.

"I just felt that getting into the playoff race, you try to elevate your game a little and try to finish strong," Robinson said of his Daytona surge.

Daytona fell just short of the post-season, but finish strong Robinson did.

A gap-to-gap hitter with little to showcase in the power department (to date at least), he combined to hit .294 in the Florida State League a season ago.

Now a new season is upon Robinson, and his goals are simple.

For one, the Canadian-born backstop wants to continue his success at the plate and as you might expect become a more well-rounded player overall.

That starts with defense, as Robinson threw out 26 percent of runners a year ago and was charged with 16 passed balls. He committed eight errors. So this spring, Robinson has been fulfilling the normal workload: receiving, blocking, getting off the throw to second. You get the picture.

But what's hidden in all of that and the statistics is Robinson's self-described most important goal: successfully handling a pitching staff. The 6-foot, 200-pound University of Illinois product, who was drafted in the third round of the 2005 draft, is striving to have every pitcher on his staff want to throw to him.

Fortunately for his cause, Robinson felt he developed a good rapport with Daytona pitchers in the short amount of time he spent with them last year.

"Since I'd played against those guys all year at Lakeland, they had already seen me play," Robinson said. "So once I started working with them, I had good relations with all the guys. As a catcher, that should be one of your number one focuses: working with the pitcher and having guys feel comfortable on the mound. That tends to result in better coordination."

All-around goals aside, Robinson is shying away from any individual, statistic-driven expectations like a certain batting average or home run total.

"Number one, if you don't make them, it's disappointing and considered kind of a failure," Robinson explains. "Number two, if you set a certain number and reach it, now you don't have any more goals. So I always try to stay away from putting numbers on goals, but rather set more broad goals like eliminating bad at-bats and just trying to get better."

And now that he's in the Cubs' system, Robinson knows the competition surrounding him is stiff and that no spot is guaranteed at any particular level of play. Ideally, he would like to move above A-ball and on into Double-A this season and if so, he might expect to compete for playing time with older players such as either Jake Fox or Tony Richie.

Either way, it won't be easy.

"We've got a really good group of catchers," noted first-year Cubs Roving Catching Instructor Casey Kopitzke. "But he (Robinson) works hard, is really dedicated to what he does and you can tell he takes a lot of pride in his catching. He's a pretty agile guy from what I've seen. He's well-rounded and does a lot of things well. He takes pride in everything he does."


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