When Spring Training started, there were a few names that seemed to come up in every conversation: Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo, and Jurickson Profar were the main three on the position player side, and A.J. Griffin, Mike Hauschild, Nick Martinez, and Chi Chi Gonzalez were the pitchers. One name nobody was mentioning at the time: Drew Robinson.
That has changed.
Even Robinson’s slow start at the plate defied the unimpressed box score and garnered some early attention: he was taking good at-bats, battling with two strikes, and holding his own against both minor- and major league pitchers. Now, the results are starting to catch up, and Drew Robinson is no longer an afterthought when it comes to roster construction: the utility infielder/outfielder is making a strong case for inclusion.
Today, it was a 2-for-2 day with a double, a home run (his third of the Spring) a couple of RBI, a hit-by-pitch, and a stolen base, just for good measure. Robinson played center field today, but–much like Profar– can play all seven non-battery positions on the field. Hanser Alberto (0-for-2 with a walk today) and Jurickson Profar (hitting .500 for team Netherlands in the WBC) are also contenders for utility playing time, but Profar could end up the regular left-fielder.
Oh, but about that: Delino DeShields went 2-for-3 and scored three runs today, too. And Ryan Rua played center field yesterday for the first time this spring, increasing his versatility.
One would be forgiven for hoping this sounds less like a conundrum and more like a Zobrist-Bryant-Baez-esque opportunity.
Speaking of opportunities, Mike Hauschild made it two days in a row with four-inning shutout appearances by contenders for the fifth spot in the rotation. Hauschild allowed baserunners in the first three innings, but ended the first two frames with double plays. His day ended having allowed just two hits and a walk, striking out three. Spring ERA is not a good stat to invoke, but 1.74 is hard to ignore.
Wesley Wright also continued to bang on the door to the team flight to Arlington. He allowed a hit and a walk, but no runs in his inning of work, striking out two.
There are still three weeks before Opening Day, and a lot can change (remember a week ago when Nick Martinez and Chi Chi Gonzalez looked like borderline locks to make the rotation?). But for today, Drew Robinson, Mike Hauschild, and Wesley Wright looked like they belonged in those Ranger blue uniforms.
Ah right, and the Rangers came from behind to win the game, 10-8. Here are some notes on how that transpired:
- In the first inning, DeShields singled on the first pitch, stole second base on the next pitch (advancing to third when the throw short-hopped into CF) and scored on the third pitch of the game when Mazara doubled down the RF line. Michael Kopech then set to striking out Joey Gallo, Will Middlebrooks, and James Loney
- The bottom of the fifth was fun: with Alberto on base, DeShields bunted the ball back to pitcher Cory Luebke. It appeared that Luebke had plenty of time to retire Alberto at second, but instead opted to turn and throw to first base. But he hesitated, as second baseman Everth Cabrera was late getting to the base. The pause threw off Luebke’s timing, and the subsequent throw ended up down the right field line. With runners on second and third, Mazara’s sac fly scored the Rangers’ second run. Then Gallo walked, and with runners at the corners, he was picked off first base. He bolted for second, and in the ensuing rundown, Delino DeShields broke from third toward home. Leury Garcia, tagging Gallo, ostensibly tried to tag him and throw home, but he got his feet tangled with the gargantuan baserunner, and fell all the way down. Delino DeShields scored, and it was 3-0.
- Speaking of wild: after Robinson’s 2-run home run made it 5-0, the combination of Tyler Wagner, Jimmy Reyes, and Cody Palmquist proceeded to give up eight runs. I’ll not bore you with the gory details, but as you can imagine, there’s really no pretty way to give up eight runs.
- While Chicago’s sixth inning was an interminable slog of singles, walks, bad stand-up comedy routines by your friend that you have to stay for because you promised but you’re just praying for someone to pull the fire alarm, and bases-loaded walks, the Rangers’ comeback happened on two swift distributions of justice: Will Middlebrooks hit a 2-run home run in the 7th inning, and Cesar Puello hit a three-run blast in the 8th. That’s how you efficiently score runs, White Sox.
Texas plays again tomorrow night - they’ll face the Giants at 8:05pm central time. The game will be shown on Fox Sports Southwest, so–assuming he’s in the lineup–you can get a look at Drew Robinson yourself.