Drew Robinson doesn’t consider himself a home run hitter.
The Double A Frisco infielder, who is tied for the lead in the Texas Rangers’ minor league system with eight homers, jumped out early this season with three in his first four games and five in his first 12. He is closing in on his career high of 13 with Class A Hickory in 2012.
Robinson, a fourth-round draft choice by the Rangers in 2010, also leads the RoughRiders with 25 RBIs.
“I just try to take advantage of some mistakes, get the head [of the bat] out every once in a while,” said Robinson, 23. “I’m just a gap-to-gap guy who finds the [outfield] berm every once in a while.”
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The early power surge was a little enticing for Robinson, who had 12 homers a year ago between Triple A Round Rock and Frisco. He hit 11 in 96 games for Frisco and one in eight games for Round Rock. He has hit eight in 40 games this season through Friday night.
“Yeah, you probably get out of your approach every once in a while and try to muscle up on one,” he said. “I just get a good swing and get underneath on some, and they find their way over the fence.”
While the power has been there, Robinson has struggled with his average, hitting .234 as of Friday’s game.
“Obviously, it’s a little lower than I want it to be right now, but as long as I’m producing and doing what I can for the team that’s really all that matters, and it’s kind of out of my hands at that point,” he said. “I set a goal to be a .300 hitter. I have the capability to do that. I have a great swing, but that’s one of the stats you can’t really worry about too much.”
If he’s putting strong at-bats together on a consistent basis, Robinson figures, the hits will come and the average will rise.
He watched Shin-Soo Choo struggle below .100 for the first month of the season and hopes to learn from Choo’s approach.
“You could see there was no pressing, really no panic from him. I’m sure that’s just being a professional, one who has been there, who knows not to add any pressure on himself,” Robinson said. “The game is hard enough. He stayed patient and trusted himself. Hopefully, I can learn that and transition that into my game.”
Josh Hamilton’s four-game swing through Frisco wasn’t only a good way for him to stay in Texas during his rehab assignment. It was also a cool moment for his Double A teammates, many of whom were teenagers when Hamilton first became a star with the Rangers.
Young, up and coming prospects such as Joey Gallo, Nick Williams and Nomar Mazara were able to ask for advice and get to know Hamilton over the week.
“It’s fun. There was a lot more buzz around the stadium, a lot more people coming out,” Robinson said. “He’s a great guy in the clubhouse. It’s cool just have somebody to talk to like that. What he’s been through on and off the field.”
Robinson’s biggest impression from meeting Hamilton was “he’s just a normal guy.”
“Just like one of us, wants to have fun and play hard,” he said. “I just tried to learn anything I can from him.”
The visit to Double A was good for Hamilton, too.
“It reminds you and keeps you humble for where you’ve been and ultimately where these guys want to get,” said Hamilton, who at times offered unsolicited advice. “Whether they wanted it or not I gave it to them. As a veteran, you see certain things. You don’t blow them up in front of their teammates, but you talk to them about things. That’s what guys did for me. It’s only right I do the same thing. You’ve got talented guys, but you want to see them succeed and do things the right way. And that goes a long way.”
Hamilton was impressed with Gallo, the top prospect in the organization.
“Big boy, good swing. He’s just a good athlete, in general,” he said. “I’m excited for him. If he stays healthy and plays how he’s capable of playing it will be fun to watch.”
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760
Home run leaders
A look at the home run leaders in the Rangers’ minor league organization, through Friday: