Rays 2016 Top 50 Prospects: Number 14, Daniel Robertson


Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.

While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.

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Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.

The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next. Mikie Mahtook and Enny Romero have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.

Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.

The next player to be examined in detail is …

#14: Daniel Robertson, SS-2B, 21 years old

  • Bats: Right Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 205 lbs
  • Drafted: in the first round, 34th overall, of the 2012 draft by the Athletics
  • Signed: for $1,500,000
  • Acquired: along with Boog Powell and John Jaso in return for Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar
  • 2015 Affiliate: Montgomery, AA
  • Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2016

Robertson’s Stats

Robertson’s Fielding Stats

Robertson’s 2015 Splits

Player Facts

“It taught me a lot. Winning the Double-A Texas League championship was awesome. It’s something I will never forget and it goes a long way. When you win championships in the minor leagues, it prepares you for those times in the big leagues.”


Best Tools & Abilities

Our Thoughts

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There was a time that I really thought Robertson was going to be the answer for the Rays at SS. However, the quick rise of Willy Adames and lack of speed and power that have come out of Robertson have combined to make me re-think his status with the Rays. He now seems more likely to wind up at 2B and to become a down-in-the-order bat that can help turn the lineup over.

When Robertson was traded from Oakland to Tampa Bay, he was regarded as their top prospect and was a key piece for the Rays as they traded away the beloved Zobrist for him. Ironically, Robertson could be called on to fill much the same role as Zobrist did since he has the versatility to do so and has already spent some time at 2B and 3B. With a strong arm and smooth hands, his defensive abilities are strong enough to allow him to play all over the field.

What everyone would love to see from Robertson is a slightly more aggressive approach at the plate, one that would still allow him to have a high OBP but would also tap into his raw power. Although the numbers don’t show it yet, Robertson has the ability to knock one out of the park at any point and most believe he has 10-15 HR potential. I’d say that if he can alter his approach to tap into the power, he could reach 20 HR.

The other thing Robertson’s going to have to improve is his hitting ability. His grades in hitting haven’t been great so far and although he gets on base regardless of whether he’s facing LHP or RHP, a higher average would ensure he can tap into his power and make the most out of his patience at the plate. For now, we’re forced to wonder whether or not he’ll hit well enough in The Show to be considered a regular, which partially explains this lower ranking than he’s received in the past.


With solid defensive play and very strong makeup, Robertson will soon be a major leaguer. He’s likely to begin the year at SS in AAA and should spend the majority of the year there unless there’s a trade or injury. With some time missed to injury in 2015, he’d do well to gain experience at SS, 2B, and 3B while in AAA and put himself into the conversation for a call up, possibly when rosters expand or for 2017 at the latest.

If it was up to Robertson, he’d be called up as a SS only. As he states:

"“I love playing shortstop,” “I’m not portrayed as the quickest guy down the line, but my instincts and the way I can read balls off the bat really helps me at that position. I try to model my game after (Colorado Rockies shortstop) Troy Tulowitski and (former Texas Rangers shortstop) Michael Young when he played short. That’s the guys. I want to play the game like them.”"

We sure hope he can emulate either Tulo or Young! In an ideal world, Robertson would be ready to help the Rays out by mid-season and show more of his power from this point forward. With the possibility of the Rays using some of their more expensive players as trade bait if need be, he could wind up replacing either Logan Forsythe or Brad Miller if they’re dealt. At this point, his skills fit either position very well.

Between Robertson, Adames, Ryan Brett, and Jake Hager, we expect them to push for the SS and 2B roles, as well as a utility role from 2017 onwards. Robertson’s main competition at 2B will be Brett who came on strong at the end of 2015 and may get the first call if and when required, and Adames who is hot on his heels for a shot at SS. Either way, it’s not going to be an easy ride for this talented prospect.


So long as Robertson struggles to show off his power in games, we’ll be forced to rank him slightly lower than we’d like. With the number of extremely high quality pitchers the Rays have in-house, it’s a tough team to break into the top 10 unless you show off a well-above-average talent. He does have everything he needs to become an impactful and long-term solution at SS. It’s a matter of putting it all together.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays Top 50 Prospects: Number 8, German Marquez

We love Robertson’s package of tools and expect him to push for a roster spot at some point this season or next. Whether or not he reaches his ceiling will depend mostly on his ability to be versatile on the field and to hit at the major league level. We hope he does both and look forward to seeing him in Tampa this season.