The Texas Rangers used the 2010 amateur draft as an opportunity to build the system's position-player depth. With its seven picks in the top four rounds, the club selected five position players.
One of those prospects was fourth-round pick Drew Robinson, a product of Silverado High School in Las Vegas.
The left-handed swinging Robinson was regarded as Nevada's top hitter not named Bryce Harper. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect is a mature hitter for his young age. As he mentioned in his post-draft interview, he models his plate approach after Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
And it shows on the field. Robinson is an intelligent hitter that consistently keeps his hands inside the ball, allowing him to go up the middle and to the opposite field with ease––somewhat of a rarity for a hitter just a couple months removed from high school.
The approach led to strong results with the rookie-level Surprise Rangers in his debut summer. Robinson posted a .286/.406/.357 slash line with 26 walks in 44 contests.
While the 18-year-old sprays the ball to all fields and has an advanced eye for the strike zone, he didn't show much power in Arizona. Robinson should develop average pop as he gains strength and progresses as a hitter, though he'll likely never be a major power threat. One scout that watched Robinson in Arizona this summer compared his overall skill-set to that of a young Ben Grieve.
The biggest question currently surrounding Robinson is his defensive game and his ultimate position. Initially drafted as a shortstop, Robinson played his first six games at the position but committed six errors in that span, including four in one game. As top prospect Luis Sardinas returned from injury, Robinson was moved around the diamond to keep his bat in the lineup.
Robinson spent most of his summer rotating between first base, second, third, and left field in addition to shortstop. Though unlikely to stick at short in the long run, he has the athleticism and arm strength to eventually settle into a left field, second base, or third base spot.
Lone Star Dugout caught up with Robinson shortly after the conclusion of the recent Fall Instructional League, where he spent most of his time working out at second and third base.
Jason Cole: You recently finished up your first professional season. What did you come away with out of it?
Drew Robinson: It was really informing. I learned a lot about the game. I learned a lot of things that I thought I already knew, but I really had no clue of anything about it. I just learned a bunch of stuff and got better.
Cole: You ended up with pretty strong numbers in the AZL, hitting .286 with a .406 on-base percentage. How did you feel about your performance?
Robinson: I didn't feel like I did that good, but I know it was a pretty good first professional season. Like I said, I wish I could have done better. But maybe that's just the way it goes sometimes.
Cole: When I interviewed you after the draft, you said you modeled your approach at the plate after Derek Jeter. Can you talk about that and what you were trying to do at the plate this summer?
Robinson: Basically, I was just staying short and not trying to do too much. I was trying to stay within myself. I just wanted to play the game.
Cole: You were able to attend Fall Instructional League after the season. What did you work on out there?
Robinson: Mainly it was offensively. I was working on my approach of seeing the inside pitch better––just seeing the ball, being ready a lot earlier, and not getting fooled as much. I had a lot of strikeouts––probably way more than I should have. So that is my big thing. It was just seeing the ball better.
Cole: You played all over the diamond this summer. Had you ever played anything other than shortstop before this year?
Robinson: Yeah. My sophomore year, I played in the outfield for about six games. It wasn't a lot, but I do have some experience at other positions.
Cole: Between all the positions you played, which did you find to be the most challenging?
Robinson: For me, it was third base. It was kind of hard to react. But the more I played there, I got accustomed to it. After I played about one game at each position, they kind of stuck with me. So it wasn't too hard to adjust.
Cole: Do you view the added versatility right now as a good thing for the future?
Robinson: Yeah, definitely. It can only help. Hopefully it is showing that I can play more than just a couple positions. It can only help in the future.
Cole: Which position did you see the most time at during instructs?
Robinson: At instructs, it was second and third.
Cole: What were some of your primary focuses on the defensive side?
Robinson: Just like hitting, I was working on seeing the ball a lot better in the field. I wanted to get a lot lower to the ground. I played really upright in my high school years. Coming to pro ball, with the game sped up, I worked on being able to concentrate on staying low to the ground to read each hop a lot better.
Cole: Do you know what the Rangers' plans are for you position-wise next year?
Robinson: They haven't talked to me about that. I think it's pretty much up in the air.
Cole: You've now entered your first offseason. How do you plan on preparing for your first full season?
Robinson: A lot of cardio. Like everyone says, it's a long year. And especially in my first year. For me, I have to gain some weight. I want to come into Spring Training with a little more power.
Cole: Have you started to think about what you'd like to accomplish next season?
Robinson: Yeah. Personally, I want to cut down on the strikeouts. Strikeouts are the worst thing, to me. It doesn't do anything for the team. It's just something that I need to cut down to improve my game.
Robinson carries mature approach
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