Robert Henry Crabtree
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 175 lb.
- School California State University, Northridge, Cypress Junior College
- High School Anaheim Savanna High School
Robbie Crabtree pitched five seasons in AAA yet never made the majors.
Crabtree was 13-8 with five saves and a 3.89 ERA as a college senior, making the Western Athletic Conference West All-Conference team alongside Jeff Weaver and Erasmo Ramirez. He was 6th in NCAA Division I in wins, behind only Julio Ayala, Clint Weibl, Randy Choate, Ramirez and Kris Benson. The San Francisco Giants took Crabtree in the 21st round of the 1996 amateur draft.
He made his pro debut with the 1996 Bellingham Giants, going 3-3 with four saves and a 2.77 ERA. He had 72 K in 52 IP with only a 1.00 WHIP. He tied Jeff Kubenka and Rico Lagattuta for third in the Northwest League with 28 games pitched. Despite being a reliever, he was 8th in strikeouts. Moving up to the Bakersfield Blaze in 1997, he posted a 7-7, 5.13 record with one save, striking out 116 in 112 1/3 IP. He tied Jason Grote for 6th in the Giants chain in whiffs.
Crabtree split 1998 between the San Jose Giants (6-1, 2 Sv, 0.99 in 24 G, 67 K, 8 BB in 54 1/3 IP), Shreveport Captains (2-0, 4 Sv, 1.67 in 26 G) and Fresno Grizzlies (8 R in 4 2/3 IP). He struck out 133 in 113 innings while walking 26 and allowing a 0.91 WHIP and 1.75 ERA on the year. He tied Jeff Hutzler and Erik Plantenberg for 5th in the Giants system with 53 pitching appearances and was third in Ks, behind Ryan Jensen and Jason Grilli.
In 1999, he pitched for Shreveport (4-2, 2 Sv, 2.56 in 36 G) and Fresno (1-4, Sv, 5.24 in 22 G). He struck out 105 and walked 28 in 97 2/3 innings. He pitched 58 games, the most of any San Fran farmhand, one ahead of Matt Wells. He was 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA and 0.76 ERA in three starts for Pastora de los Llanos in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Robbie would spend his final three seasons exclusively in AAA. With the 2000 Frizzlies, he was 5-6 with 8 saves and a 3.81 ERA in 63 games. He tied Gus Gandarillas for the most games pitched in the 2000 PCL and was the only hurler in the top 7 who never made the majors. Despite being a reliever, he made the ERA qualifiers and finished 3rd, behind only Weibl and Matt Wise. He again led Giants farmhands in pitching appearances, four ahead of Eddie Oropesa and Manny Bermudez. He was also 5th among Giants minor leaguers with 116 K. In the US minors, only Keith Forbes, Isabel Giron and Brent Stentz pitched more games that summer.
Crabtree pitched 63 more games for the 2001 Grizzlies, going 8-10 with six saves and a 3.69 ERA. He led the 2001 Pacific Coast League in games pitched, four ahead of Jim Dougherty - every one else in the top 20 would play in the major leagues. He led Giants farmhands in appearances for the third straight year, four ahead of Luke Anderson. In the US minor leagues, he tied for 5th in appearances, behind Brian Bowles, Clay Condrey, J.J. Trujillo and Ray Beasley.
Opening 2002 on a rough note for Fresno (1-4, 7.91 in 24 G), he wound up in the Toronto Blue Jays chain and was 3-4 with two saves and a 4.91 ERA in 32 games for the Syracuse SkyChiefs; he again was a workhorse, totaling 56 games.
He went 40-41 with 30 saves and a 3.82 ERA in 366 games as a pro (11 starts). He struck out over a batter per inning, 704 K in 701 2/3 IP, while allowing 648 hits and 228 walks.