Christian Robinson Preparing For The Next Step
High school seniors are usually just scratching the surface of their potential. For the top seniors, the story usually begins with promise at early ages. The legends of players such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper began when they were extremely young. For underclassmen, the story is just beginning to be written. Christian Robinson was one of the most promising prospects in the 2018 class. Now, he’s one of the most promising prospects in the 2017 class.
Robinson has decided to reclassify as a junior, meaning he’ll graduate and take the next step in his baseball career a year earlier. Consider this the first chapter of the Christian Robinson story. Robinson is oozing with tools and athleticism. He’s a lefthanded hitter with power potential, a smooth downhill swing and an aggressive approach geared toward run production. He’s also a lefthanded pitcher, armed with an upper 80s mph fastball that could reach into the low 90s as he matures physically. His upside is obvious from the moment he steps off the bus.
“He’s as toolsy as anybody we’ve had, and his work ethic is off the charts,” said Jered Godwin, who coaches Robinson with the Florida Travel Ball (FTB) program. Godwin has coached countless early-round draft picks and high-end Division I players. “It’s exciting for us, that a guy like this that’s thinking long-term with education and baseball in mind.”
Robinson has become accustomed to being one of the youngest players on the field. He grew up playing alongside his brother PJ, who’s three years his senior and currently a freshman at Harvard. Christian also has a Division I future ahead of him; he’s committed to play at Florida, the No. 1 team in the country. Christian and PJ, and their younger sister Katie, have grown up in a family that values academics. Christian’s grade-point average is higher than 4.0 and he’s dual-enrolled in college courses at a local community college.
If he were to continue on his current path, he’d need just one or two credits during his senior year. That’s a part of his academic motivation to accelerate his timeline, but his college credits will also transfer over to Florida, meaning that he’ll already have more than a semester’s worth of credits before he sets foot on campus. Reclassifying will also allow Robinson to challenge himself at an earlier age, continuing a common trend of Christian’s young baseball career. As a freshman at Viera (Fla.) High, Christian joined PJ on the varsity roster, and he hit the ground running. In 80 at-bats, Christian batted .375 and swatted 12 extra-base hits, including three home runs.
“It’s been a combination of a bunch of great circumstances,” Robinson said, acknowledging both the academic and athletic benefits of enrolling in college earlier. “I feel like I’m ready to play college baseball.”
Robinson showed off that readiness at the WWBA World Championships in Jupiter, Fla., last October. Playing for the FTB Tucci travel team, Robinson suited up in an exhibition game and took two at-bats. In front of a swarm of scouts, Robinson saw an upper 80s fastball and hit a hard line drive to right field that was caught on the warning track. In his next at-bat, he punched a ground ball through the six-hole for a base hit. For as promising as Robinson’s offense is, he prides himself on his defense.
“One of my biggest strengths has got to be my defense,” Robinson said. “You’re not always going to have the best day at the plate, but you can always play good defense and affect the game that way.”
Robinson is a plus runner with present average arm strength that projects to get better. He has all the elements of a five-tool player. Enrolling a year earlier could allow Robinson to develop into a better player in the long-term. He models his game after Barry Bonds, looking to capitalize on mistake pitches whenever possible. The sooner he’s exposed to high-level competition, the sooner he can adjust to elite pitching and prepare himself for his long-term baseball future.
“We’ve always told our kids to have million-dollar dreams and $100,000 backup plans,” says Greg Robinson, Christian’s father.
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The family is excited about what opportunities could lie ahead of Christian, but they’re taking things in stride, sticking to their core values of education and discipline. While the rest of Christian Robinson’s story is yet to be written, the rising action has begun. Viera is off to a 6-0 start, and Robinson is taking the appropriate steps to kick start his career. The next chapter could be thrilling.