Former top prospect eager to continue baseball career
Kristian Robinson, once listed as one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) top prospects, has been on a hiatus from the sport of baseball, but he is on the way back and is looking for a steady progression into the majors.
The Bahamian turned heads during the 2019 season in particular, hitting a combined .282 for two teams in Single A baseball with 14 home runs, 51 RBIs (runs batted in) and 43 runs scored, showing that he could hit for power and average. He showed his speed as well with 17 stolen bases and had a slash line of .282/.368/.514.
Robinson last played with the Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League – the Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks – in 2019. Since then, he has been assigned to the Visalia Rawhide of the California League and is currently on the restricted list with the Diamondbacks. Robinson is anticipating a strong bounce back performance this year.
In 2020, Robinson was named to the Diamondbacks’ 60-man player pool and was assigned to their alternative training site at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona. That year, he also reached as high as number one on the Diamondbacks prospects chart and number three on MLB’s Top 100 Prospects List.
“Well, I’m looking to get back on the field as soon as possible. I believe that the sky is the limit for me and that I will eventually get to the majors, but more than anything, the goal is to stay healthy and stay on the field,” said Robinson. “More than anything, I have progressed mentally. I want to see where this season leads me. Of course, I will go out there and perform at my best but there aren’t any lofty goals in terms of numbers. I just want to go out there and perform at my best.”
Robinson, an outfielder, came up through the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN), signing as an international free agent with the Diamondbacks as a 16-year-old in 2017. He received a $2.5 million signing bonus that year and immediately paid dividends for that organization.
“I was with JBLN for about 10 years and I would say that three things that JBLN taught me was consistency, commitment and community. It was real important for my development,” he said. “You had to show up and commit, you had to exhibit consistency and the community that you build would last a lifetime. Some of the guys who I met through playing at JBLN, I still have ties to, to this day. JBLN facilitated me playing in tournaments as a teenager against some of the best talent in the United States and that helped me to grow as a player. I really appreciate that. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that development.
“I have to say a special thank you to JBLN and the people who have been behind me since day one. There are many out there with faith in me now and I won’t let them down. I’m just eager to get back to work and will continue to push forward.”
Robinson earned mid-season all-star honors in the Class A Short Season Northwest League in 2019 before advancing to the Class A Midwest League, where he was more than three years younger than the circuit’s average player.
Now, at 22, the towering 6’3” Bahamian is eager to continue his career. In two years in the minors, he has produced 21 home runs, 92 RBIs and 91 runs scored. He has shown triple-digit exit velocities.
“I’m eager to put in the work, stay healthy and play a full season,” said Robinson. “The main goal is to make it to the majors and stay there and be impactful on a major league team. Next year might be a little more realistic in terms of being called up to the majors but I’m very optimistic. I want to believe that this year will be the year and I am going to push as hard as I can to make that a reality. If it doesn’t happen, I will be content knowing that I gave it my all, and I’ll just look forward to it the following year. I have to go out there and do well – that’s all I could control.”
Former Bahamian professional baseball player Antoan Richardson, now a first base coach with the San Francisco Giants, has partnered with Robinson’s agent Mike Nickeas of Creative Artists Agency (CAA). He has been a mentor to Robinson over the past two years.
“The first time we really clicked, he called me and he wanted to check in. He has been there for me ever since.” said Robinson. “If I have any problems and need someone to talk to, I go to him because he has been through the process. He’s been an aid in getting me back to where I need to be mentally and physically. I have trust in him, and I could only see our relationship growing.”
After the hiatus away from the game, Robinson is back in the swing of things. He has been an active participant at extended spring training where he was able to have at-bats and innings in the field. He was added to the Diamondbacks’ 40-man roster in November and was then placed on the restricted list.
So far, eight Bahamians have played in Major League Baseball. Robinson is hoping to be the ninth.