Continuing our series of 2017 MLB rookie profiles, we turn our attention to a power-hitting corner infielder from the Texas Rangers, not named Joey Gallo. In fact I imagine that Drew Robinson is tired of hearing about Joey Gallo, who has hogged the spotlight in the system through Robinson’s entire minor league career. Let’s change that a bit today.
Drew Robinson was drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round in 2010 from high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. He performed well in rookie ball, but slumped to just .163 in the Northwest League in 2011. He rebounded in A-ball (.273/.409/.444 in ‘12, .257/.369/.404 in ‘13), but struggled badly on reaching the Double-A Texas League in ‘14 (.190/.273/.366). He improved in ‘15 (.235/.363/.451 in Double-A) then posted a decent-enough ‘16 campaign in Triple-A (.257/.350/.480, 20 homers, 17 steals, 66 walks, 148 strikeouts in 467 at-bats).
In 2017 spring training he hit .246/.355/.477 in 65 at-bats, nearly duplicating what he did in Triple-A last year. He made the Opening Day roster but has just two at-bats so far. I had Robinson as just a Grade C on the Top 20 Texas Rangers prospects list for 2017, but I’d go with a C+ today.
Age 24, he is a 6-1, 200 pound left-handed hitter. Robinson does not have a Gallo-esque raw power tool but he can put a charge in the ball and gets to his 55-grade power with reasonable frequency. Despite his consistently high strikeout rates, he is not a hack-from-the-heels hitter and his swing is smooth to the eye. He is a very selective hitter and draws a lot of walks, to the point that scouts think he is too selective and could benefit from swinging at hittable pitches early in the count rather than waiting for the perfect pitch.
Robinson has average speed and arm strength but his instincts are good both on the bases and in the field. He reads pitchers well and can swipe a base. He has experience at multiple positions, playing every position on the field during his career except pitcher and catcher. Unlike many such players he is actually a solid fielder at most of those positions. His range isn’t good enough for regular play at shortstop, but he can handle the slot in an emergency. He’s very skilled at second base and third base and has looked comfortable at all three outfield spots as well.
It is unclear if the Rangers will have room for Robinson long-term, but if I were another team, I would be looking to pick this guy up. He’s not going to hit .300 and may not break .250, but he’ll draw walks, hit for some power, steal some bases, and provide excellent defensive versatility.
There is value here.