#40 Derrick Robinson
Acquired: 4th Round of 2006 Amateur Draft
From: Gainesville, FL
Once upon a time Derrick Robinson was the $850K bonus baby that at one scouting combine had set a 60 yard dash record. In large part because of this speed the Royals needed to put the dollar sign on the muscle to prevent Robinson from taking a football scholarship to the University of Florida.
Up until the final month of the 2009 season, Robinson had yet to show even a hint of his potential, but then for the final month of the season Robinson tore it up. He carried that momentum into the 2010, season where he served as a catalyst for one of the top minor league offenses in baseball.
I watched Robinson throughout the entire 2010 season and one thing really stuck out to me. Robinson is a very quiet guy (at least on the baseball field). This can be interpreted in one of two ways. Either Robinson tries to keep an even keel so that he doesn't over react to poor performance or he isn't a competitive guy, sometimes even coming off as uncaring.
I heard in an interview Robinson defend his demeanor as being the the first of those two scenarios. After his strong season I was hopeful that he could continue to progress with the bat, and eventually be the lead off man and center fielder for the Kansas City Royals. But in 2011, Robinson's offensive numbers totally dropped off the table and in my heart I always knew it was coming.
Obviously I am no scout, but watching Robinson so closely he always seemed sad. In 2010, he hit a quiet .286. There weren't times in which it was apparent that D-Rob was in the zone. But when Robinson would struggle as the rest of the offense tore up the Texas League he would quietly walk back to the dugout with his head down. He would never throw his batting gloves against the bench, he would never complain to an umpire. For me I am left wondering if Robinson has the drive and competitive desire to turn his career around.
The way I see it, 2012 may be Robinson's last chance to get back on to the Major League radar. He's twenty-four years old now and will be back in Northwest Arkansas for the third time. I'm hopeful that Robinson can figure it out and even bring a new passion to the game in 2012, but I'm not confident this will be the case.
Picture credit NWA Online.