Oct 21, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2016: 31
How acquired: Minor-league free agent, Dec. 2014
MLB service time: 1 year, 28 days
2015 salary+bonuses: $525,000
Contract status: Under team control in 2016, arbitration-eligible in 2018, free agent in 2021
2015 stats: 126 G, 352 PA, 44 R, 84 H, 15 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 34 RBI, 0 SB, 37 BB, 52 SO, .272 BA, .358 OBP .424 SLG, .782 OPS, 5 E, 0.2 UZR (at 1B), -4.4 UZR (at LF), 0.2 WAR
Quotable: “He’s been a very nice surprise for everybody. We didn’t know going in where he would fit or how, and due to Zim’s injury and many others he’s been able to play and be consistent. That’s all good for him. I think he’s responded to the challenge very well.” — Matt Williams on Clint Robinson
2015 analysis: A virtual nobody when he arrived at spring training on a minor-league contract, Clint Robinson wound up impressing the Nationals’ coaching staff and front office in Viera and earning his first-ever spot on an Opening Day roster. He never gave up that spot, proving quite a valuable left-handed bat off the bench who ultimately was needed to start far more than anybody could have expected.
Robinson was always a good hitter in the minors, so his success at the big-league level wasn’t a complete shock. He simply needed an opportunity to play. And he got that in Washington, taking advantage of injuries to Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth that opened up starting jobs at both first base and in left field.
Robinson’s defense wasn’t much to speak of, but he made up for it with his professional approach at the plate. He produced an above-average walk rate (10.5 percent), below-average strikeout rate (14.8 percent) while hitting home runs and line drives more regularly than the typical major-league batter.
2016 outlook: The Nationals saw more than enough of Robinson this year to conclude he should return next year and play an important role. But they recognize that role ideally involves coming off the bench and not being pressed into everyday duties as much as he was this season.
Robinson’s minor-league track record and peripheral numbers in his first big-league season suggest 2015 wasn’t a fluke. The man can hit. Perhaps the Nats will see Robinson as a strong backup option to Zimmerman and will be willing to give the veteran more regular days off in an attempt to keep him healthy. The club does, however, need a better fourth outfielder option than Robinson, who only learned how to play the position this year and never really appeared well-suited to it.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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