Washington Nationals News: Short swing key to Clint Robinson’s success

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Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Check out some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

We start off today’s Daily with a very interesting article from Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. In the article, Janes discusses the offensive success of Nationals bench player Clint Robinson this season and the long road in the minors that finally led to his first lengthy stay in the big leagues. Janes also discusses how his short and direct swing has been key to his success throughout his long professional career and during his rookie campaign in 2015, and looks ahead to how the rest of the season is shaping out for the 30-year-old rookie.

As Janes notes, Robinson is finally a key part of a big league team. After spending eight seasons in the minor league systems of three different MLB franchises, the outfielder/first baseman finally got a chance to shine at the game’s highest level this season. Robinson, who joined the Nationals in Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, made the Opening Day roster and has stayed with the team ever since.

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Prior to this season, Robinson had only 13 major league at-bats to his name. He had never hit a home run, he had never hit a double, he had never hit a triple, and he had never stayed with a big league club for any considerable amount of time. This season, Robinson is hitting .269 in 182 major league at-bats. He has four homers, 11 doubles and, yes, he even has a triple.

While his numbers may not seem all that impressive, his value to the Nationals this season has been monumental. Thanks to his ability to play the outfield and first base, the Nationals have a solid player who has been able to step in when other players have been injured. Ryan Zimmerman, Denard Span and Jayson Werth have all spent significant time on the disabled list this season and Robinson has been fundamental in making up for their absences all season long.

For Robinson, the injuries that have plagued the Nationals all season long have given him ample opportunity to prove his worth as a big league player, and he hasn’t disappointed. But, as Janes notes, things will never be easy for Robinson.

The Nationals are finally getting healthy and Zimmerman and Werth will be back in the everyday lineup very soon. With the cavalry making its way back, the Nationals will have to make some hard decisions to make room on the roster. Right now, it’d be surprising if Robinson is the one sent down given his success this season and the fact that he’s a left-handed hitter in an offense that leans heavily to the right side. But Robinson’s playing time will likely decrease substantially, and it’s harder to see success at the big league level when you’re not getting a whole lot of at-bats.

But as Robinson has shown throughout his career, he’s not afraid of long odds and adversity. The 30-year-old journeyman has been a key part of the Nationals’ offense this season, and if he continues to perform at the level we’ve seen from him all year long, there’s a good chance his first lengthy stay in the big leagues won’t be over any time soon.

Also in today’s Daily, MLB.com’s John McGonigal discusses how rookie Joe Ross continues to show that he belongs in the big leagues. With Stephen Strasburg set to return from the 15-day disabled list in the near future, the Nationals will soon have to decide if Ross will stay with the big league club for the stretch run or if he’ll head back to the minors.

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

With short swing, Nationals’ Robinson seeks lengthy stay

(Chelsea Janes, Washington Post)

Hours before most games, Clint Robinson stands in front of his locker with his batting gloves on and a bat in hand, getting a feel for it. He chops it through the air with a quick flick of his wrists, staring at the bat all the while, rarely taking full swings, which in his case would not involve much more effort anyway.

The swing that finally got Robinson to the majors is efficient and direct, like Robinson himself, “the ultimate realist,” as his wife describes him — honed to hit anywhere and forced to do so by the realities of professional baseball he outlasted to earn his first real significant big league chance at age 30.

Most 6-foot-5 left-handed power hitters don’t swing like Robinson; they are more willing to sacrifice consistent contact for homers with long, looping swings. Read full article here.

Ross continues to show he belongs on big league stage

(John McGonigal, MLB.com)

PITTSBURGH — With Stephen Strasburg (left oblique strain) slowly regaining his health, Joe Ross‘ spot in the Nationals’ rotation may be nearing its expiration date. But he’s taking advantage of each Major League start, looking like a seasoned veteran in the process.

The 22-year-old rookie’s composure was showcased yet again in a 3-1 series-finale loss to the Pirates on Sunday at PNC Park. Ross, in his fifth career start, dealt with conviction — yielding three runs but just five hits, while needing only 78 pitches to complete six strong innings. Read full article here.

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