Prospect Profile: Chris Robinson

Robinson was quickly moved to West Mich.

The Tigers likely recognized their lack of depth in the organization at the catching position last summer, which is likely the reason they went out and grabbed Chris Robinson in the third round of the draft. Is Robinson potentially the heir apparent to Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate in Detroit?

Chris Robinson
Position: Catcher Height: 6-0 Weight: 200
Born: 5/12/1984 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Robinson joins the Tigers as their third round choice from the 2005 draft, out of the University of Illinois. As a two-year starter for the Fighting Illini, Robinson's line totaled .347/.415/.529; an exceptional career in an average college conference. During Robinson's time at Illinois, he helped lead the team to its first Big 10 title in several seasons. Robinson spent the 2004 summer playing as the top catcher in the Cape Cod League, alleviating some doubts about his ability to hit with wood. After joining the Tigers organization, and spending only two games with Oneonta, Robinson joined the Class-A West Michigan Whitecaps. While splitting the primary catching duties with Dusty Ryan over from July through September, Robinson struggled some with the adjustment to a relatively advanced league, posting a .257/.329/.348 line with the ‘Caps.

Scouting Report
Despite his lofty draft status, Robinson only possesses an average overall skill set. His most outstanding tool is his exceptional leadership capabilities, and his desire to lead his team. He controls pitching staffs well, and provides a calming influence during games. His receiving skills are only average, but he works diligently to try and improve them. Robinson's arm is very strong, with a quick release, and very good foot work. Offensively, Robinson has quite a bit of work to do. He has a consistent approach and solid pitch recognition skills that allow him to control the strike zone well. Chris should hit for average once he adjusts to the pro game, but don't expect him to hit for much power. Robinson has the ability to drive the ball to all fields with ease, but it is unlikely he is able to successfully develop and significant opposite field power. His line drive stroke could play well in a park like Comerica, but he'll need to continue to add strength and learn to attack mistake pitches with an aggressiveness he has yet to display.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

SS-A

Oneonta

13

.154

0

0

1

3

1

.200

.154

A

West Mich.

148

.257

8

2

18

39

15

.329

.365


Health Record
Robinson has been not had any injury concerns at this point in his career.

The Future
It's really anyone's guess whether Robinson starts the 2006 season with Lakeland or West Michigan. The Tigers have quite a log jam of young catchers that will all be vying for time from Lakeland on down. It is likely that Robinson will make the jump to High-A Lakeland straight out of spring training. After a rocky start in 2005, look for Robinson to settle in and post a much better overall line this season. It is unlikely that his power will develop until much later, if it ever does. Chris' defense and leadership skills will carry him towards the Major Leagues, even with a suspect bat. If he can develop any hint of power, Robinson would be almost a lock for an extensive Major League career. He'll never be a star catcher, but then again, solid everyday backstops aren't that easy to come by.

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