Sunday, March 21, 2010

Prospect #14 Tyler Robertson

Starting LHP
Drafted: 3rd round, 2006 Fair Oaks, California
Levels Played in 2009: A+ Fort Myers
Opening Day Age: 22

Tyler Robertson quickly made a name for himself in 2007 by dominating the Midwest League as a 19 year old. In 102 innings he had a 2.29 ERA and 123 strikeouts (10.8K/9 innings). The only pitcher to have a better strikeout rate in the Midwest league in 2007 was another 19 year old lefty, Clayton Kershaw. Their were high hopes for Tyler Robertson in 2008. He pitched well however a mid season arm injury cut his campaign short 83 innings. Most say the injury was caused by Robertson's corky mechanics that seem painful to watch. Robertson's motion has a lot of moving parts, and a big arm whip action from a 3/4 arm action nearly passing for side arm delivery. Although, not what you are supposed to teach to any pithcer, it does create a lot of deception which allows him to get his outs.

2009 might not have gone the way Robertson wanted. He was sent back to A+ ball. Although successful he was not as dominant as he once showed in 2007. He did pitch a career high 143 innings but only struck out 103 and his BAA went up from .226 to .247 in 2008 to .259 in 2009.

The reason why Robertson was so successful previously in his career was because he normally worked with a fastball in the 90-92 range. In 2009 he dropped into the mid 80's. Baseball America had a great report on him, saying some of his lost velocity may have been due to lack of long toss programs used throughout the season. It has been said that the Twins minor leaguers are to increase their long toss programs throughout the season to maybe get more stretched out and gain a little more velocity. Their is optimism that it will be able to work out for Roberson considering he is 6 feet 5 and over 220 pounds. In addition to his hidden fastball, Robertson has 3 above average to plus pitches starting with some call the best curve-ball in the system, and plus slider and a change up which is average to above average. Scouts say that if Robertson can better his fastball it will make is change up that much better just with velocity separation.

If Robertson is able to regain some of his lost velocity and make sure to stay healthy with his violent delivery, he could be making his major league debut sometime next year. The Twins really only have 2 solid left handed starters in the minors in addition to the 3 with major league experience (Liriano, Perkins, Duenseng). Robertson will begin 2010 in AA with a deep rotation. It is expected that Robertson will team up with David Bromberg, Deolis Guerra, Mike McCardell and Carlos Gutierrez.

ETA: Mid to late 2011
Projection: Middle of the rotation lefty with 4 pitches.
MLB Comparison: Nobody has mechanics resembling Robertson. But he has secondary pitches similar to Erik Bedard. Hopefully he can remain more healthy.

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