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Derrick Robinson

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Derrick Lamar Robinson

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Derrick Robinson made his major league debut in 2013. He led his league in steals every season from 2008-2012.

He hit .359 with 48 steals as a high school junior then .488 with 42 swipes as a high school senior, winning All-State honors. He set a Perfect Game USA camp record with a 6.19-second time in the 60-yard dash. The University of Florida offered him a football scholarship as a cornerback, but he opted for baseball. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 amateur draft by the Kansas City Royals. He was signed by scout Cliff Pastornicky and made his pro debut with the AZL Royals that summer, hitting .233/.335/.318. He led the Arizona League with 14 times caught stealing (5 more than anyone else) but was only third in steals (20).

In 2007, Robinson played for the Burlington Bees (.243/.299/.300, 34 SB, 7 CS in 102 G) and the Wilmington Blue Rocks (5 for 13, 2B, BB). He tied P.J. Phillips for third in the Midwest League in steals (behind Gorkys Hernandez and Jose Vallejo) and led Royals farmhands in that department. He spent 2008 with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, producing at a .245/.316/.322 with 8 triples and 62 steals in 79 tries. He was third in the Carolina League in three-baggers (behind Paulo Orlando and Joe Dickerson) and first in both steals (23 ahead of runner-up Jarrod Dyson) and caught stealing. He led the Royals chain in steals by 20 ahead of Ovandy Suero.

Back with Wilmington in 2009, he batted .239/.290/.324 with 72 runs and 69 steals in 92 tries. He again led the Royals chain in swipes (23 ahead of Dyson) and times caught stealing and was 4th in runs (between Jeff Bianchi and David Lough). He led the Carolina League in stolen bases (15 ahead of runner-up Boomer Whiting) and caught stealing (7 ahead of Lucas Montero) and tied Cord Phelps for 9th in runs. He joined Matt Angle, Tim Fedroff and Che-Hsuan Lin as the league's All-Star outfielders despite his poor OPS.

Robinson picked up his game a notch with the 2010 Northwest Arkansas Naturals, producing at a .286/.345/.380 clip with 8 triples, 74 runs and 50 steals in 67 tries, though he made 9 errors in center field. He was 5th in the Texas League in runs (between Alex Valdez and Koby Clemens), tied for second in triples (even with Corey Brown, Valdez and Jon Gaston), was third in hits (146, behind Johnny Giavotella and Clint Robinson) and led again in steals (17 more than #2 Anthony Jackson) and caught stealing (5 ahead of Jackson). In the Royals chain, he tied for fourth in triples and tied for the steal lead. He joined Brown, Paulo Orlando and Jeremy Moore as the TL All-Star outfield selections.

Despite his 2010 success, Derrick was back with the Naturals for 2011; he slumped to .251/.323/.282 and stole 55 bases while getting gunned down running 15 times. He led the TL in steals again (19 more than runner-up Blake Tekotte) as well as times caught stealing (two ahead of Jermaine Mitchell). He also led the Royals system in steals (17 more than Dyson) and caught stealing. He made it to AAA with the 2012 Omaha Storm Chasers and hit .268/.344/.325 with 23 steals (caught 9 times). He was only 6th in the KC organization in swipes and did not make the top 10 in the 2012 PCL.

After seven seasons spent in the Royals organization, Robinson signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a minor league free agent in December of 2012. That move allowed him to reach the major leagues when Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick was felled by a leg injury on Opening Day; Derrick was called up from the minor leagues and made his debut on April 5th, pinch-hitting for Homer Bailey in the 6th inning of a game against the Washington Nationals. He reached on an error by SS Ian Desmond, then was erased in a double play.

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