At every level he’s played in the minors, Clint Robinson has hit.
Sure, we could count his second pro season in Burlington as a rough patch. After all, he only had an .806 OPS, his lowest at the end of a full season in his minor league career.
In 2010, he won the Triple Crown in the Texas League, helping lead Northwest Arkansas to a championship. He had 75 extra base hits that season. Last year, he helped lead Omaha to a Pacific Coast League title with his bat. Opening up 2012, he’s sitting on a .312/.383/.532 line over 620 games as a minor leaguer.
Now, he finally gets his chance in the big leagues.
With the Royals heading to Pittsburgh for their first series in a National League park, Robinson was added to the Royals roster as an extra bat off the bench. To make room, Ryan Verdugo was optioned back to Omaha after being called up. Verdugo didn’t make an appearance in his brief time in Kansas City.
Robinson has toiled in the minors for a long time, but his trip to Pittsburgh may be the extent of his action for now in the big leagues. The Royals will return to Kansas City to face Milwaukee next Tuesday at home but also hit the road right after that three game series to play at St. Louis and at Houston, so Robinson might stick around through those series if the Royals pitching staff doesn’t get overworked and necessitate a 13th pitcher.
Why hasn’t Robinson been up sooner? First, Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer are firmly ahead of him and Robinson doesn’t have any flexibility to play anywhere but first base (much lIke Butler). Also, Robinson has always inspired skepticism. As a former 25th round pick, he’s been a pleasant surprise. Scouts question his bat speed and ability to hit major league lefties (sounds familiar). He’s also 27 years old – older than both players ahead of him on the depth chart – and the upside is limited.
Still, it’s a great story and it’s good to see him get any opportunity. Maybe he can hit a little in limited time and if an injury befalls Butler or Hosmer, the nerves may not be there should he be pressed into action. He might impress someone on another team and become part of a trade. Who knows?
We talked to Clint Robinson on the inaugural episode of the Kansas City Baseball Vault and he spoke about his approach to his game while waiting for his chance behind Hosmer and Butler.