Robles Taking It Up A Notch

BROOKLYN, NY - Hansel Robles shows more than just strength on the mound. Despite coming to the United States from the Dominican Republic and not knowing any English, he continues to improve on and off the field. His command on the mound proves that he not only has the arm but also the mentality to succeed in this league as a pitcher.

Standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 185 pounds, Robles stands as a rarity for starting pitchers. Yet, with his consistency and ability to repeat his delivery, he remains a prospect in the Mets farm system.

Playing with the DSL Mets in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Robles made 29 appearances, 21 of which were starts. In the 2011 season, playing with Kingsport Mets, Robles pitched for the first time exclusively out of the bullpen and in fifteen games with them, he did not allow any earned runs in nine of his outings. In the hopes of continuing this success, Robles took advantage of the offseason to prepare.

"I worked very hard. I think I did well at preparing for this season," Robles said prior to Tuesday's game through the help of a translator. "I wanted to make sure I kept my endurance up - I only gained two pounds but I worked out really hard."

As far as Spring Training and Extended Spring Training go, Robles continued to push himself on the mound in order to take his pitches to the next level. Robles acknowledges his disappointment in not breaking camp with the Savannah club, but remains optimistic for his season with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

"I did really well," he said. "Specifically, I worked on my legs, to have more strength, and pitching inside. I gained a lot of development in Extended, it went really well. I was able to establish pitching inside and pitching inside consistently. There was a lot of development in my pitches.

"I didn't feel too happy about not breaking camp with Savannah, but I took onto the challenge. The plan was communicated to me that I was going to go from the bullpen to be a starter and that I was going to go and extend my innings. On one hand it was tough, but on the other hand, I liked the challenge."

Marc Valdes, pitching coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones, shed light on Robles' achievements and the work that took place during Spring Training and Extended Spring Training.

"I saw a kid that came over from the Dominican, who wanted to be a starter and pitched a little bit last year at Kingsport - he was just eager to get some experience," Valdes said. "He worked on command. At these levels, we teach fastball command. When he got here, he actually elevated his game.

"He pitched better than he did at Extended - he threw well at Extended, but you know, when the lights turn on, guys turn it up a notch. He's done that."

Additionally, Rich Donnelly, manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, noted Robles' work and improvements that took place in the offseason.

"The thing he showed in Spring Training is that he pounds the strike zone. He goes after the hitters and that's what I like about him. He has a good slider and the thing that I like about him is that he doesn't walk people," Donnelly said.

"He has to work on seeing the hitter; you have to read the hitter. The hitter will tell you what to throw after he takes a couple of swings, that's what he has to work on.

"He has to see the hitter and know that when he throws a good pitch and the hitter doesn't respond, to throw that pitch again—don't throw another one. That's what he has to learn, to read the hitters."

Robles' pitches definitely shape up to embody the development he spoke of in regard to Spring Training and Extended.

"I throw a natural, running fastball and that's between 91 and 94 [mph]. I like throwing my changeup and slider. I don't have a go-to secondary pitch, it's really dependent upon the situation of the game. I'd like to add some strength so I can get more velocity on my fastball."

To expand on these, Valdes gave a detailed scouting report on Robles' pitching.

"He throws fastballs, sliders, and changeups. His fastball is 90-94 [mph]; it's got a good tail, arm side, with a little sink to it. His slider, in the low 80's, is nice and tight, and sharp. He's learning how to backdoor that pitch to lefties. His changeup is good, around 80-82 [mph], with a good arm side tail, like his slider. At times he drops his elbow a little bit, but it's improving."

Robles showed a lot of promise after striking out seven batters in just five innings in his first start of the season against the Staten Island Yankees on June 21. With his second start of the season against the Hudson Valley Renegades on June 27, he pitched for five innings, striking out four batters and giving up only four hits—none of which became runs.

"I thought I did well during both games," Robles said, "but for the second game I felt I could've gone for nine innings, I felt great."

As he continues to develop his pitches and successes on the mound, Donnelly believes Robles has a lot of potential.

"He could — he has the chance to make it to the big leagues. He has the arm, now he has to meet it with the mental [game]. Pitching is mental," Donnelly said. "A lot of guys can throw 90-95, but not everyone can pitch.

"He has to learn how to pitch a little better, how to read the hitter, and to control himself. If he does that, he has a heck of a chance."

Valdes feels that Robles has many strengths on the mound, as well as a good amount of potential.

"He repeats. He repeats his delivery. He's very consistent and he keeps the same attitude and mind frame even when things aren't going well," Valdes said. "I'd like to see him stay with the fastball command, just because he's thrown two good games and he's got the fastball command going.

"He's got to keep that and repeat that and keep the good, quality starts going. He's definitely got a bright future. He's a top prospect in this organization and there's a lot of people talking about him right now."

Robles kicked off his season with the Cyclones with undeniable fortitude. With his positive mentality and improving pitches, we will continue to see his success throughout the season and his career.

"I feel like right now I'm in a good place and I'm being more efficient and pitching inside well, so right now, I just want to maintain what I'm doing," Robles concluded.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nStanding 5-foot-11 and weighing 185 pounds, Robles stands as a rarity for starting pitchers. Yet, with his consistency and ability to repeat his delivery, he remains a prospect in the Mets farm system.
\r\n
\r\nPlaying with the DSL Mets in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Robles made 29 appearances, 21 of which were starts. In the 2011 season, playing with Kingsport Mets, Robles pitched for the first time exclusively out of the bullpen and in fifteen games with them, he did not allow any earned runs in nine of his outings. In the hopes of continuing this success, Robles took advantage of the offseason to prepare.
\r\n
\r\n\"I worked very hard. I think I did well at preparing for this season,\" Robles said prior to Tuesday's game through the help of a translator. \"I wanted to make sure I kept my endurance up - I only gained two pounds but I worked out really hard.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs far as Spring Training and Extended Spring Training go, Robles continued to push himself on the mound in order to take his pitches to the next level. Robles acknowledges his disappointment in not breaking camp with the Savannah club, but remains optimistic for his season with the Brooklyn Cyclones.
\r\n
\r\n\"I did really well,\" he said. \"Specifically, I worked on my legs, to have more strength, and pitching inside. I gained a lot of development in Extended, it went really well. I was able to establish pitching inside and pitching inside consistently. There was a lot of development in my pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't feel too happy about not breaking camp with Savannah, but I took onto the challenge. The plan was communicated to me that I was going to go from the bullpen to be a starter and that I was going to go and extend my innings. On one hand it was tough, but on the other hand, I liked the challenge.\"
\r\n
\r\nMarc Valdes, pitching coach for the Brooklyn Cyclones, shed light on Robles' achievements and the work that took place during Spring Training and Extended Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\n\"I saw a kid that came over from the Dominican, who wanted to be a starter and pitched a little bit last year at Kingsport - he was just eager to get some experience,\" Valdes said. \"He worked on command. At these levels, we teach fastball command. When he got here, he actually elevated his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"He pitched better than he did at Extended - he threw well at Extended, but you know, when the lights turn on, guys turn it up a notch. He's done that.\"
\r\n
\r\nAdditionally, Rich Donnelly, manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, noted Robles' work and improvements that took place in the offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"The thing he showed in Spring Training is that he pounds the strike zone. He goes after the hitters and that's what I like about him. He has a good slider and the thing that I like about him is that he doesn't walk people,\" Donnelly said.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has to work on seeing the hitter; you have to read the hitter. The hitter will tell you what to throw after he takes a couple of swings, that's what he has to work on.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has to see the hitter and know that when he throws a good pitch and the hitter doesn't respond, to throw that pitch again—don't throw another one. That's what he has to learn, to read the hitters.\"
\r\n
\r\nRobles' pitches definitely shape up to embody the development he spoke of in regard to Spring Training and Extended.
\r\n
\r\n\"I throw a natural, running fastball and that's between 91 and 94 [mph]. I like throwing my changeup and slider. I don't have a go-to secondary pitch, it's really dependent upon the situation of the game. I'd like to add some strength so I can get more velocity on my fastball.\"
\r\n
\r\nTo expand on these, Valdes gave a detailed scouting report on Robles' pitching.
\r\n
\r\n\"He throws fastballs, sliders, and changeups. His fastball is 90-94 [mph]; it's got a good tail, arm side, with a little sink to it. His slider, in the low 80's, is nice and tight, and sharp. He's learning how to backdoor that pitch to lefties. His changeup is good, around 80-82 [mph], with a good arm side tail, like his slider. At times he drops his elbow a little bit, but it's improving.\"
\r\n
\r\nRobles showed a lot of promise after striking out seven batters in just five innings in his first start of the season against the Staten Island Yankees on June 21. With his second start of the season against the Hudson Valley Renegades on June 27, he pitched for five innings, striking out four batters and giving up only four hits—none of which became runs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought I did well during both games,\" Robles said, \"but for the second game I felt I could've gone for nine innings, I felt great.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs he continues to develop his pitches and successes on the mound, Donnelly believes Robles has a lot of potential.
\r\n
\r\n\"He could — he has the chance to make it to the big leagues. He has the arm, now he has to meet it with the mental [game]. Pitching is mental,\" Donnelly said. \"A lot of guys can throw 90-95, but not everyone can pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has to learn how to pitch a little better, how to read the hitter, and to control himself. If he does that, he has a heck of a chance.\"
\r\n
\r\nValdes feels that Robles has many strengths on the mound, as well as a good amount of potential.
\r\n
\r\n\"He repeats. He repeats his delivery. He's very consistent and he keeps the same attitude and mind frame even when things aren't going well,\" Valdes said. \"I'd like to see him stay with the fastball command, just because he's thrown two good games and he's got the fastball command going.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got to keep that and repeat that and keep the good, quality starts going. He's definitely got a bright future. He's a top prospect in this organization and there's a lot of people talking about him right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nRobles kicked off his season with the Cyclones with undeniable fortitude. With his positive mentality and improving pitches, we will continue to see his success throughout the season and his career.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like right now I'm in a good place and I'm being more efficient and pitching inside well, so right now, I just want to maintain what I'm doing,\" Robles concluded.
\r\n
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