This Robinson can fly

They held the Instructional version of the Dodgertown races Saturday -- 40 yards to determine the fastest man in camp. And the winner? Roll drums. Trayvon Robinson in a flashy 6.1 just ahead of Ryan Carter who clocked 6.2 in an all-outfielder finale.

That Robinson has a set of wheels -- as the ballplayers say -- comes as no shock to L.A, who drafted him for his speed. What did surprise them this season, though, was the sock he displayed. "I didn't know he had that kind of power," exclaimed one official.

You know what? It came as something of a surprise to Robinson himself. "I hit some in high school but I always thought that was because of the aluminum bat," he admitted. Now, though, he has been re-evaluated for he brings more to the park than had been suspected.

August was the sweetest month for Tray. Until then he was a sometimes outfielder on the Gulf Coast team, one who showed some promise but who needed a lot of work. Then he exploded. "I hit .381 for the month," he notes. "My average went up 136 points to .296." And, as noted, he began bashing the ball for distance, hitting three out plus two triples and seven doubles.

This display got him called up to Ogden just before the Pioneer League playoffs. He'd become used to playing before four or five spectators on a Dodgertown practice field but now he was transported to a town where they turn out in large numbers for their team.

"I kinda freaked out seeing all those people," he confessed. But he came through with a key hit to win a game so the experience was enjoyable for all concerned.

Robinson is an L.A. kid, Crenshaw High, to be exact, where he hit .508 with four home runs his senior year. "I hit seven though as a junior," he hastens to add. He's a product of the RBI program which brings the game to the inner city. "It helped me a lot," he allows.

He may be from L.A. but the Texas Rangers were always his team of choice, "I started following the game in 1994 and I just loved the way their outfielders -- Rusty Greer and Juan Gonzalez -- played the game. I've followed them ever since. Still do."

However, he's in an organization he loves now. A natural right-handed hitter, he's being schooled in switch-hitting plus lessons in hitting down on the ball, because the notion clearly is that he has a chance to run his way to the big leagues.

He's 5-10, 175 with room to add some more muscle. A 10th-round draft pick, he's been something of a revelation.

Derry "D. J. " Jackson has been considered the king of the speedsters in the organization previously. He's not in this camp but may well throw a challenge to Robinson come spring training. It may not be the Olympic trials but these kids know how to get places in a hurry. And that's exactly what Tray Robinson is doing in this organization.