Position: Right-Handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 6/19/1990 (2016 Opening Day Age: 25)
Acquired: 2011 MLB Draft, 29th Round
Ranking History: #69 (2012), #38 (2013), #24 (2014), NR (2015), #23 (2016)
Background: An under the radar selection in 2011, the Tigers believed they found a hidden gem in the 29th round when they picked Robertson out of Coahoma Community College. His first season, Robertson pitched very well in the GCL with a 2.73 ERA 26-1/3 innings. He followed that up with a 4.69 ERA in 48 innings as a starter at Connecticut the following year, and then received a rude awakening when he was knocked around in the Midwest League during his full-season debut in 2013. The 2014 season saw Robertson find success as a reliever in West Michigan, posting a 3.24 ERA across 43 appearances. His experience in the bullpen continued across two levels in 2015, splitting his time between High-A and Double-A.
|Lakeland||A+||19||0||0||37.0||28||15 / 13||0||20||28||3.16||1.30||2-6|
|Erie||AA||15||1||2||31.0||35||14 / 12||3||15||30||3.48||1.61||2-4|
Body: Big, physical body; good athlete; broad shoulders; strong legs; well-coordinated; Tommy John surgery in 2010; MLB-ready body.
Delivery/Mechanics: High effort delivery; rarely consistent; quick movements from rocker step to balance point; often too hasty through balance into drive toward plate; gets out ahead of his arm at times, leading to bouts of wildness; uses strength to drive hard to plate and finish with violence; high ¾ slot; effort adds some deception.
Fastball: Velocity routinely rests in 94-95 mph range out of bullpen; will dip to 92-93 during longer outings and when he doesn’t have enough rest between appearances; can find 97-98 mph regularly, even when fatigued; explosive life on pitch; shows a little run at lower velocity bands when kept in bottom third of strike zone; “hops” at hitters when thrown up in the zone; plus pitch at all time and will flash higher; minimal advancements in overall FB consistency expected. Grade – Present 6+/Future 6+
Slider: Thrown hard and with conviction most of the time; sits in mid-80s with tight rotation and good tilt to pitch; at best will show two plane movement that can induce weak contact or miss bats; can get around pitch at times and cause it to lose bite/snap; showed improved consistency late in season; potential above-average pitch with additional focus and development against advanced hitters. Grade – 4+/5+
Control/Command: Delivery is not conducive to strike throwing; loses strike zone all together at times and struggles to regain the zone; FB will routinely miss up and to the arm side as arm drags from lower body moving too quickly through delivery; no command projection; below-average control at present with fringe-average projection.
Other: Highly competitive; can get too amped up before some outings; attacks hitters; doesn’t control the running game adequately.
Summary: High-powered arm with velocity, life, and a quality secondary offering; control and complete lack of command hold him back from more substantial projection; has the right mentality for late inning role but without more strikes, those roles are unrealistic; FB-SL combo gives him a chance at an MLB career.
Risk: High risk; Still more thrower than pitch, and always will be; minimal control development to date; inherent risk of minor league relievers.
Projection: Should continue to find innings against advanced minor league hitters in 2016, likely finding way to Triple-A at some point; some potential for MLB debut this season; control problems limit ceiling; projects as middle relief arm with limited potential for 7th inning role if development steps forward; will likely bounce between MLB and the minor leagues for several years before settling into a modest bullpen role.