65. Jared Robinson – Right-handed Pitcher
Born: 11/20/1994 – Height: 6’0” – Weight: 190 – Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Facts & Info: Robinson was selected by the Indians in the 11th round of the 2014 Draft out of Cerritos Junior College (CA) and signed for $100,000. He was a two-way player in college and was named the 2014 South Coast Conference Player of the Year. Had he not signed with the Indians he was set to transfer to a four year school and play baseball at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills.
Stuff: Robinson is a smaller sized righty with some projection still left thanks to some good strength and athleticism along with a good mix of pitches that all have the potential to be average or better. He has some above average arm strength with a plus four-seam fastball that sits at 91-95 MPH and flashes 97 MPH when he reaches for extra. He is very aggressive with his fastball through the zone and it shows good late life. He has a lot of confidence and trust in his fastball because of his above average command of it and his ability to solidly locate it to both sides of the plate. He mixes in three different secondary offerings, but the better of the three is a solid average curveball that he shows a feel to spin and has some good shape. He added a cutter in 2014 when he was drafted and has really come along with it over the past few seasons by commanding it better and showing more confidence in using it, and might be the pitch that is the biggest key to completing his arsenal. He also mixes in a developing changeup that he shows some feel for, but is presently a below average offering and needs a lot of work.
Delivery & Intangibles: Robinson has a good delivery that has clean mechanics, and his athleticism allows him to repeat his delivery well and make the adjustments necessary to refine it. For as raw as he is on the mound, he has done a nice job of consistently being around the zone, locating down in the zone and getting a good amount of groundballs. He displays a calm demeanor on the mound where he doesn’t panic even in the toughest situations and does not let his emotions show. He’s just an extremely confident pitcher who has a good understanding of who he wants to be and what he wants to do when he takes the mound. Those emotional traits to go along with his stuff lead many people to believe that he has the proper mentality to pitch in high leverage situations. He is always looking to improve and is not afraid to do the work to make that happen. He has an outstanding work ethic and constantly asks questions to coaches in order to better understand the cerebral part of the game.
Focus: Robinson’s biggest focus the last few seasons was getting him innings so that he can make up for a lot of the limited experience he had on the mound in high school and college before he turned pro. In his outings he has a tendency to have three or four very good innings but one poor inning always takes away from an otherwise good performance, so developing his routines – which he did not have before turning pro - has been a big focus to help bring more consistency to his outings. He is working to solidify a delivery that is comfortable for him and he will stick with, which has been an issue in the past as he has a tendency to want to tweak things before giving a recent adjustment time to take hold. Another way he can improve his consistency is by better locating his fastball down in the zone and also just gaining a better feel for pitching so he knows how to use his stuff and read what hitters are trying to do to him. His cutter and curveball have shown some improvement, but both offerings need to be tightened up in order to bring about more swing and miss and improve their overall effectiveness. The changeup is still in play, but he continues to toy with the grip of it to try and get better downward movement with it and also to command it better.
Future: Robinson has carved out quite the career to date considering he is a player who stepped away from baseball for a year between high school and college. He brings about a lot of interest because he still is not who many in the organization believe he will be, and with his explosive stuff to go along with his moxie on the mound, he’s someone the Indians are still very intrigued to see what he becomes. That said, he is now 22-years old and this season he will need to start realizing some of that potential with some notable improvement in all areas of his game. Last season, he actually did a nice job of limiting walks (3.0 BB/9 at Low-A Lake County and 2.9 BB/9 at High-A Lynchburg), but his struggles centered around him getting hit too much and giving up the home run ball (1.0 HR/9 at Lake County and 1.1 HR/9 at Lynchburg). He also really struggled in high leverage situations with runners in scoring position at both Lake County (.316 AVG, 1.72 WHIP and 14.50 ERA) and Lynchburg (.227 BAA (but 10 walks), 1.67 WHIP and 14.25 ERA), so that inability to limit damage or escape jams is something he is going to need to learn to work through this season. The Indians should continue to develop him as a starter, likely in a continued piggyback situation, in order to give him innings and more opportunities to fine tune his mechanics, improve his secondary offerings and develop a better feel for pitching and all of the various situations that come up within a game. Even though he is starting, he projects as reliever and may eventually turn to that role full-time later this season. He should open the season with a return to High-A Lynchburg.
Ranking History: #45 (2016), #51 (2015)