14. Tyler Robertson, LHP, 21 years old
2009 stats: 3.33 ERA, 143.1 IP, 103/51 K/BB, 1.326 WHIP at Ft. Myers (A+)
Last year’s rank: 7
Acquired: Third-round selection of the Minnesota Twins in the 2006 draft.
This past year was Tyler Robertson’s second year with the Fort Myers Miracle, and the first in which he managed to stay healthy for a complete season. Robertson has taken a few steps back since 2007, when he was one of the best prospects in the Twins’ system.
Robertson’s ERA has been inflated by more than a run, but more note-worthy is the fact that the young left-hander from California pitched to contact in 2009 and saw his strikeout rate greatly reduced.
Despite being listed at 6’5’’, Robertson manages to get just 88 mph on his fastball. Left alone, this clearly won’t be an effective pitch in the major leagues, but his slider and changeup are quite good.
Robertson also throws a decent curveball at around 67 mph. Perhaps the biggest problem with Robertson is his bizarre mechanics, which are the main culprit for his injury-plagued career. At 6’5’’, Robertson is relatively bulky, but not un-athletic.
He will undoubtedly need a fair amount of tweaking in his mechanics, but Robertson has a solid repertoire of pitches that he can throw for strikes. He doesn’t possess a killer out-pitch, and will probably be forced to rely on the defense behind him more often than not.
The high strikeout-rates of his first two seasons in professional baseball are most likely an aberration, and Robertson will be a contact pitcher in the future.
Ideal scenario: Robertson, with the help of pitching coach Stu Cliborn, tweaks his mechanics for the better with the New Britain Rock Cats and gains a few miles of velocity on his fastball.
Robertson could be a bullpen-bolstering September call-up in 2011, and possibly enter the rotation in 2012 as a 24-year old.
Path to the majors: The Twins have a young rotation, but Baker will be 31 years old in 2012 and Robertson could transition in nicely.