There are several stories in St. Louis Cardinals‘ camp this spring- The battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, prospect extraordinaire Oscar Taveras, the rise of Michael Wacha, as well as who takes ownership of second base. Through all that commotion, center fielder Shane Robinson is off to the best start of all Cardinals.
With Taveras getting the bulk of the media attention, Robinson has seemingly been the pilot of this week’s offensive juggernaut that saw St. Louis average just over eight runs a game. The last time Cardinal Nation saw him was his eight at bats last fall during 2012 Major League Baseball playoffs. Robinson had an OPS of .111 and scored one run.
The 28 year old Robinson was drafted by St. Louis out of Florida State in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. Over the past seven years he’s toiled through the minors making cameos in 2009 and 2011 and finally getting sufficient playing time in 2012. Through 181 plate appearances Robinson hit .253 with a mediocre .665 OPS. Despite his offensive shortcomings, Robinson is a strong outfielder with a decent arm and a 17.9 UZR/150. And with the emergence of John Jay as the torch-bearer in the outfield, Robinson seems doomed–so to speak–to be a role player.
Robinson certainly doesn’t want to become complacent with that responsibility. Judging by his .533 batting average (in 15 plate appearances) and 1.544 OPS–which are both second behind Allen Craig–he wants to give manager Mike Matheny something to think about. Additionally, as of March 2nd, Robinson leads the team with seven runs scored, eight hits, three doubles, and is tied with two others with six RBI.
While it’s only the first week as well as it being important not to get too carried away by spring training performances, if Robinson can keep this pace up then you’re going to be seeing plenty of ‘Sugar Shane’ this upcoming season.