#22 Clint Robinson
Acquired: Drafted in the 25th Round of the 2007 Amateur Draft
From: Jefferson City, MO
Since being drafted out of Troy University, all Clint Robinson has done is hit. He has moved one level at a time, and for his career he boasts a .312/.379/.536 line with a triple crown under his belt. Of course there are a couple things that have always held Clint back from being a big time prospect: age and defense.
Because Robinson was drafted as a college senior and because of the Royals unwillingness to push him along, Robinson has always been old for his level. He is now 26 years old and will be 27 for the 2012 season. Due to his age, he has constantly had to prove himself at the next level and it will be no different when Robinson makes his final step into the professional ranks. Could he be a second division regular? Or is he a AAAA player? We just won't know until he gets an opportunity.
I like Robinson. For a full season I had the privilege of watching him mash Texas League pitching. In my mind he absolutely deserves a shot at the Major League level. However, I don't see this coming in Kansas City. Robinson is a poor defender and a base clogger on the bases. Kansas City is already set at DH and 1B, so there isn't much room to fit Robinson on to the Major League roster.
The Royals have toyed with playing Robinson in left field. I can recall a game in Springdale in 2010, when Robinson even got the start in the outfield. It was ugly. Robinson has a decent arm, but he had troubles getting the ball out of the corner and it was not a pretty sight.
As a Clint Robinson fan, I would love to see him get a shot in another organization. However, from a Royals perspective his value is probably highest as an organizational insurance policy. There isn't a trade market for blocked 26 year-old first base prospects. For this reason he isn't worth much in a trade, unless he is an extra piece. Robinson has a couple of option years remaining, so he's most valuable to the organization as an insurance policy should Eric Hosmer or Billy Butler fall to injury.
Clint Robinson's mental toughness will be tested as long as he is in the Royals organization. Thanks to the talent ahead of him, he won't have a shot to win a big league spot, unless it comes as the result of injury. Robinson will need to focus on the things in is own control for 2012, and continue to mash. If he can do this, eventually he'll get his chance.
Picture credit: OmahaBaseball360.com