Mariners Analysis: Nobody is Hotter than Dan Robertson Right Now


Dan Robertson is sizzling this spring with the Mariners, and he is making a strong case to make the opening day roster.

There have been a number of impressive performers so far this spring for the Seattle Mariners, but no one has done more than Dan Robertson. The 30-year-old outfielder was claimed off waivers by the M’s this offseason, and he has wasted little time making an impact with his new organization.

The Oregon State alum is on fire in the desert, slashing .533/.650/.933 through his first 11 Cactus League games. Robertson has tallied 2 doubles, 5 RBI and a team leading 2 triples across 15 at bats. What has impressed me most is his plate discipline. Robertson has worked 5 free passes while striking out just twice so far this spring.

Robertson has not only been impressive at the plate, he has also proven to be more than capable in the outfield. He is dependable with the leather, and he has shown off his athleticism by making a number of nice running catches.

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Many will dismiss Robertson’s strong spring training performance because the majority of his action has come against backups and minor-leaguers in the later innings. However, there are plenty of players with similar roles who have not been nearly as productive. Say what you will about the level of competition, but Robertson has been fun to watch in Peoria.

Jerry Dipoto added Robertson to the Angels’ roster last offseason, and he obviously is a fan of the diminutive outfielder’s game. The 30-year-old hit .280 through 75 at bats last season with the Halos. Robertson spent the bulk of the season in triple-A, where he hit .265 with 1 home run, 20 RBI and 6 steals in 60 games.

Originally selected by the San Diego Padres in the 33rd round of the 2008 draft, Robertson made his big league debut with the Texas Rangers in 2014. He fared nicely in his rookie campaign, posting a .271 batting average and swiping 6 bags over the course of 70 games. Robertson registered 0.2 wins above replacement during his time in Arlington, but was let go following the season.

Robertson is a versatile defender with the ability to play all three outfield spots. He is most experienced playing left field, but he also has solid metrics in center. Dan possesses a strong throwing arm, as demonstrated by his 10 outfield assists in 96 career big league games. He has also spent some time playing second base during his minor-league career.

Robertson has been very successful during his career in the minor leagues. Across 8 seasons, he is hitting .299 with 27 homers, 334 RBI and 139 stolen bases. Robertson’s numbers are nearly as impressive in triple-A, where he has posted a .288 average with 8 home runs, 119 RBI and 49 steals in 338 games.

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The Fontana, CA native will never be a home run threat, but he knows what he’s doing in the batters box. Robertson rarely strikes out, and has a career .324 on base percentage. He does a great job of putting the ball in play, and his speed applies pressure on the defense. Robertson works the count nicely, and could be effective at the top of the lineup or in the bottom third.

Robertson’s stiffest competition for a roster spot this spring is Shawn O’Malley. Both players are in the hunt to be the M’s backup center fielder in 2016, but O’Malley has a couple significant advantages. The first is that O’Malley is a super utility player, meaning he has the ability to play the infield and the outfield. The second is that Robertson is not currently on the Mariners 40-man roster, and O’Malley is. So, Seattle would have to DFA someone already on the 40-man roster in order to make room for Robertson.

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Dan Robertson is an underdog, and he is the kind of player fans should root for. He is undersized at 5’8/205, but he makes up for his lack of size with heart and hustle. Robertson has made the most of his opportunities during his career, and he has been surprisingly productive at every level. I doubt he exits spring training with the Mariners, but I think describing Robertson as just “organizational depth” is selling him short.