SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 12: Clint Robinson #25 of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated by the thrid base coach Eddie Rodriguez #14 aftet hitting a one run home run during the first inning of the spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium on March 12, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Robinson's power display through the minors has been a consistent surprise, and the Royals must pay attention at some point.
Clint Robinson is as steady as they come. He's climbed one level every year of his five seasons in the minor leagues for the Kansas City Royals. He's consistently displayed good to great power at every stop. He's also produced everywhere he's been. Yet Robinson is usually left off of prospect lists for the Royals for well-known names like Eric Hosmer, Will Myers, Mike Montgomery, Mike Moustakas and the like.
This year, Robinson has done more of the same. In 125 games, Robinson has 21 home runs, 91 RBI, 33 doubles and a .321 average. Last year in AA Northwest Arkansas, Robinson had 29 homers and 98 RBI to go with a .335 average. To date, Robinson's career averages in the minors include a line of .311/.379/.534. Those are nice numbers in any scenario, and it seems the Royals have some DH options.
Of course, at the major league level, Billy Butler has been a fine young hitter for Kansas City since well before some of the team's hot prospects were even acquired. While his numbers aren't at Robinson's minor league numbers, Butler's been performing near those aforementioned levels for the same amount of time at the highest level. The power hasn't quite been there, but Butler's definitely a productive major league hitter.
Earlier in the year, John Sickels of Minor League Ball wrote that he liked Robinson as a solid DH candidate. "His swing is longer than Moustakas' and his bat speed isn't quite as good, but he does a good job controlling the strike zone and he doesn't strike out much for a power hitter. I've seen him take pitches the opposite way and he's not a strict pull hitter. He is not a very good fielder and looks like a born DH. Although Robinson is nowhere close to the Moustakas or Hosmer class of prospect, I think his approach gives him a chance to be successful in the majors, at least as a platoon bat."
Jim Callis likes Robinson's bat and admits he's done nothing but produce at each level, but mentions several weaknesses back in a May prospect column at Baseball America. He writes, "For all Robinson's success, scouts still don't believe that his hitting ability and power are going to be better than average tools, and holding down a major league first-base job will require more than average offense. He has well below-average speed and is a defensive liability, so he'll have to keep producing like he has in the minors to get regular playing time in the majors."
Yet it's clear that Robinson has produced far beyond he was ever expected to as a 25th round draft choice, and continued productivity cannot be ignored, especially by a team lacking power like the Royals. Robinson has definitely earned a September call-up and it's his job to seize any chances the Royals give him at the plate.