Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Q&A with Whit Robbins
Twins Minor League Hitting Prospect
Good morning, everyone! I basically stayed away from computers for the last three or four days, and that isn’t a bad thing after all. Today I am thrilled to bring you another Q&A with a Twins prospect, but before getting to that, here are a couple of quick notes:
· First things first, I am also really happy to announce that tonight at 9:00 p.m. I will be bringing back the SethSpeaks.net podcast at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SethSpeaks. I have a few guests lined up, but want to verify some things. I will announce the schedule this afternoon, so be sure to check that out and then tune in live tonight at 9:00 central time!
· There is a very good chance that Phil Miller will join us on the show from Ft. Myers… so be sure to check out his incredible article on Twins reliever Craig Breslow. What a remarkable person!
· Josh Johnson is finishing up his Top 50 Twins Prospects series. He has now posted his choices for the Top three Twins prospects. Be sure to check them out and if you missed any of the profiles, be sure to note the links on the right side of his page.
· Aaron Gleeman is close to completing his Top 40 prospect series. Yesterday, he posted his choices for numbers six through ten.
· You are definitely going to want to get back into the habit of checking out Pat Neshek’s blog. He has posted both days so far and says he plans on updating the site every day! It is sure to be very interesting!
· Over the Baggy reports that we can add Steve Tolleson to the list of Twins players who have had LASIK surgery.
· I haven’t mentioned it nearly frequently enough, but Coffeyville Whirlwind continues to replay the 1991 season game-by-game. It’s a must read.
· If you’re looking for projections to use for your fantasy baseball drafts, check out Phil Mackey’s AL Projections. Sounds like he has put a lot of work into the program.
With all that, I am very happy to bring you another Question and Answer with a Minnesota Twins prospect. Whit Robbins grew up in Georgia. He signed with the Twins shortly after the team made him their 4th round pick in June of 2006. He jumped right up to Beloit and did very well. He missed a lot of time with a back injury in 2007. He made it back in 2008 and played in just 91 games and did well. He looks to have a healthy and successful 2009 season and should spend the season in New Britain.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Georgia, should I be able to assume who your favorite team when you were younger? Who were some of your favorite players?
Whit Robbins: Yeah, the Braves were my favorite team. We would go to a lot of their games when I was young and they weren't really good so it was good to see them turn things around as I got older. Since I was a big Braves fan, Chipper Jones was my favorite player.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little bit about your high school baseball career at Calhoun (GA) High School? Did you play other positions?
Whit Robbins: There were a lot of ups and downs in my high school career. Started off good my freshman year when we won the state championship, but due a shoulder injury I suffered playing football I was sidelined for most of my sophomore and junior seasons. It was cool though. As a freshman I pitched and played third, and after the surgery I made the transfer to first to help my arm recuperate. It was fun. I got to pitch to my brother and play along my cousins. There were always a few Robbins's in our lineup.
SethSpeaks: Did you participate in other extracurricular activities in high school?
Whit Robbins: Before I played football my freshman and sophomore years. I was also a part of the KEY club and National Honors Society.
SethSpeaks: Were you heavily recruited out of high school by colleges and pro scouts?
Whit Robbins: Not really, I talked to several pro teams and all the colleges around the southeast but they all wanted me to pitch. I ended up having two shoulder surgeries and I lost interest in pitching after the second one. It worked out good thought because I got a offer from Georgia Tech and I enjoyed swinging the bat anyways.
SethSpeaks: Georgia Tech is a powerhouse in college baseball. Was that an easy choice for you to make to go there?
Whit Robbins: It was a tough decision. Growing up a Georgia Bulldog fan and having a brother playing for the Dawgs, it made things a little interesting. But, I had a bunch of summer ball friends going to/playing at Tech so I chose to be a Yellow Jacket.
SethSpeaks: Describe your collegiate career at Georgia Tech, and talk about the College World Series experience.
Whit Robbins: I had the time of my life playing at Georgia Tech. Success and playing with some of your best friends equals a great time. Finally making it to the College World Series was awesome. We felt like we should have made it the previous two years but got knocked out in the Super Regionals both years. Omaha was great though. It was a good experience and I think my brother and I are the only two brothers to ever play in the same series.
SethSpeaks: If you weren't playing baseball, what would your career of choice be?
Whit Robbins: Obviously, baseball is my career path of choice but if I was going to be doing something else, I would want to be helping people. Not sure what I would be doing or exactly want to do. But I do want others to benefit from my work.
SethSpeaks: The Twins drafted you in the 4th round in 2006. Is that about where you were expecting to be drafted?
Whit Robbins: That's what I had been told (2nd-5th), but it was all a whirlwind to me. I struggled my sophomore year at school so I was just concentrating on going out there and having fun my junior year. I got off to a good start and started hearing some things and the success continued. I was excited when I heard the news.
SethSpeaks: Had you had conversations with the Twins scouts, or were you surprised when they drafted you?
Whit Robbins: I had all the talks. I don't exactly remember who talked to me the most or what we talked about. I was just hoping to get drafted so I could pursue my dream.
SethSpeaks: You signed quickly and they sent you straight to Beloit where you played great. What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Whit Robbins: I had played with wooden bats in summer tournaments and in the Cape Cod League so it wasn't the first time I used one. The transaction was smooth. It was good to get off to a good start.
SethSpeaks: In 2007 at Ft. Myers, you hurt your back. Can you explain the injury and what it affected?
Whit Robbins: I actually hurt it in Beloit and went home a couple weeks early. I have two stress fractures in my lower back. It's an injury that happens over time. Apparently, they don't exactly heal but there are ways to cope with it. I am still learning and hopefully this season I can be in there everyday.
SethSpeaks: Consistently you have shown a strong ability to take walks with a on-base percentage of about .120 over your batting average. How would you describe yourself as a hitter, and what is your approach going into an at bat?
Whit Robbins: I would consider myself a patient hitter. For some reason I have always been like that. Growing up in a small town I was always the best player on our team and I didn't have too much help. They would pitch around me but I never really minded. I would take my walks. Some of my college buddies laugh about it and tell me to swing the bat.
SethSpeaks: Who have been some of the people who have been most instrumental in helping you get to this point in your career?
Whit Robbins: Definitely my father. He and his brothers built a gym at my grandparents house so growing up whether my brother and I wanted to or not, we would go up there and practice. He pused us to be the best we could be. Besides family, all my coaches. I played with the East Cobb program so I always had great coaching.
SethSpeaks: What are some of the things that you worked on in the offseason? When did you start your preparations for the 2009 season?
Whit Robbins: I have put a lot of time and effort the last couple of years of trying to figure out how to stay healthy. We start workouts a month or so after the season. All the Georgia Tech guys go back there and we all workout together. Been seeing a chiropractor weekly to make sure everything is good in the back. We start really getting into things after the new year. After our workouts we will go to the field to hit, throw, and take some grounders.
SethSpeaks: Looking to 2009, what are your goals? Where would you like to play, and are there certain statistics that you pay close attention to?
Whit Robbins: This year I would just like to be on the field for 142 games. I guess that would be the main stat, games played.
SethSpeaks: What are some of your hobbies away from the game of baseball?
Whit Robbins: I like to hunt, fish, play video games, and hang out with my friends.
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Book?
Whit Robbins: Not a big reader
SethSpeaks: Favorite Baseball Movie?
Whit Robbins: Bull Durham
SethSpeaks: What would it be like to put on a Twins uniform in a regular season game for the first time?
Whit Robbins: A dream come true.
A big thank you goes to Whit Robbins for taking the time to answer these questions. Obviously we wish him the best health and success in 2009! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to put them in the comments, or e-mail me and I will try to get a response.