Okay, everyone I guessed loved the Michael Saunders post so much, figured I’d go a round 2 with one that people will equally… well. I don’t know. You will all read and then find someway to disagree with me.
Obviously you see it in the title. Mauricio Robles. A lot of people forget about him due to his elbow surgery last April and then his poor rehab starts a long the way back to Tacoma and then he had nothing but terrible starts there too.
He went back on the DL in August, though it was done so without an specified illness or injury according to various sites (Rotoworld, Baseball Prospectues, ect). And more than anything the club just needed to shut him down.
Checking with a few different people he is back and in camp, fully healthy this spring. According to several sources the organization still values him and thinks he should be back and could bring something of value to the major league roster sometime down the road. Now it wasn’t specified exactly in what capacity that will be.
This is a young man who despite his small size can hurl the ball 92-94 miles per hour. I’ve seen him once myself and while yes, he does have stamina issues, he is someone that could be seen as a very interesting relief prospect.
I would love to hold onto the idea of him being a starting rotation prospect. I liked him a lot and even with his issues, there is a lot to like about someone who can still give you 5 better than average innings to start a game.
The problem is that there aren’t too many major league baseball team that are willing to work like that. I guess they see it more as a weakness than as a strength. Maybe someone could explain to me what exactly it is they see in pitchers that have stamina issues.
Me, I see an opportunity. Sure the lack of innings he’s going to give you ultimately lowers his ceiling. But I argued this back last spring, 5 innings given to you by a good pitcher is better than 7 innings by an average pitcher. Especially when you consider the strength of the bullpen that is quickly becoming very good.
But, considering the depth that is the starting rotation Robles starting isn’t likely a need and he could be placed in the bullpen –where his problems with control and stamina are minimized, if not possibly eliminated– and used as a late inning reliever.
Robles isn’t even up to compete for a roster spot and it’s unlikely that he would even see time at the major leagues until August or September. But injuries being what they are with pitchers and the various question marks that do surround the veterans that are on this staff, Robles could make his appearnce on this team as soon as late May or more realistically in late June or July should he make some real noise down in AAA.
I don’t know what it is with me and undersized pitchers that throw hard. Scouts knock them pretty heavily and I guess I just have a small spot in my heart for the underdogs.
But don’t forget that this was the same guy that was mentioned to be just behind Michael Pineda one year ago at this time. And despite the fact that he looked like garbage after coming back. He had a lot to over come and to get back too.
Sometimes injuries are far from simple to return from and having a year to get beyond it gives hope that the he could return to the same pitcher and grow to be better.
He turns 23 on March 5th –and despite a lost year of development– he’s only been pitching for three full years. With a lost year in develop just last year and considering that he’s in AAA he’s done a lot already in a young career and he certainly still has potential.
He’s one of the many minor league stories to keep an eye on down in Tacoma this year.