It can’t easy to get released by the only organization that you’ve ever known, but outfielder Shane Robinson had to suffer through that when the St. Louis Cardinals cut the 30-year old last November.
Drafted in the fifth round back in 2006 out of Florida State, Robinson came up through the always potent St. Louis farm system and then wound up playing in parts of six seasons for the Cardinals as a reserve outfielder. During his time in St. Louis, Robinson hit .240 over 268 games with the team and was consistently an excellent defender. Perhaps his greatest moment with the organization was a pinch hit home run in the seventh inning of game four of the 2013 NLCS, pushing the Cardinals ahead and helping them take a 3-1 series lead.
But despite all the highs and lows, he found himself needing to start a new chapter of his life this offseason and the Minnesota Twins were there to offer him a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Nothing was guaranteed with this deal, but as the market for players in their 30’s with a .240 career average isn’t that great, getting his foot in the door was the most Robinson could ask for.
The deal has worked out great for both sides. Robinson has now reached a new career high in plate appearances after starting in last night’s win over the AL West leading Houston Astros. He has also reached career highs in batting average, stolen bases, and triples, and has matched his career high in runs batted in to date. While he is reaching new heights in his professional career, the Twins now find themselves needing Robinson more than ever.
Robinson has appeared in 16 games this month, including 11 starts, due to 40-year old Torii Hunter starting to show his age and a hamstring injury to Aaron Hicks. With Minnesota calling on him almost everyday, he now finds himself playing his best baseball of the season. Robinson is hitting .306 in August with a .375 on-base percentage, hitting safely in eight of his last nine games. The Twins even had Robinson in the game as a pitcher three weeks ago, where he used a knuckleball to get the three outs he needed, not allowing a run in the process.
It has shocked most people, but Robinson has been a huge part of the Twins surprising success in 2015 and he’s been able to save his own career as well. Minnesota might not have a spot for Robinson next season with Byron Buxton ready to make his first Opening Day roster and even a number of young players in the minors that the organization likes, but another club will surely open their doors to the veteran after his career-reviving season.