I’ve been singing the praises of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Shane Robinson this spring, but how seriously should the team take his Spring Training numbers?
Hitting a terrific .431 this spring, Robinson is having the best Spring Training of any Cardinal. Almost half of his at-bats end with him reaching base in some manner and 10 of his 25 at bats have been extra-base hits.
Anyone can experience a hot streak through the regular season similar to Robinson’s, so I have to wonder at what point will he regress back to his mean.
Robinson has played in 122 regular season games for St. Louis spanning three seasons. His career batting average sits at .242 and his OPS has never been higher than .665 — his career OPS+ is 71. Robinson’s hit three career home runs — the exact amount he’s hit this spring.
He does play a good outfield, and his best chance at playing time is to spell or even replace outfielder Carlos Beltran or even Matt Holliday if health issues arise. We also cannot forget that it won’t take much for the Cardinals to promote top prospect Oscar Taveras. That being said, can we really expect Robinson to get more playing time than Taveras?
I don’t think its any question who the organization would favor in that situation.
Regardless, even if Robinson manages 300-plus at-bats, his numbers can’t possibly match what he’s putting up now because of the level of competition. I’d expect Robinson to hit somewhere around .260 — .275 at absolute best — with an OPS barely over .700.
That’s not quite the production you’d want to have out of a starter, but it is enough to get by in a pinch.
My guess is that if a serious problem occurred in the outfield, Robinson would be nothing more than a place-holder for the likes of Taveras.