Ten Questions with Jacob Robson
* OF Jacob Robson (Windsor, Ont.), of the Ontario Blue Jays is off to Mississippi State University this fall ….
By Clayton Richer
Baseball Hot Corner
The signing deadline came and went for drafted players.
So, outfielder Jacob Robson will be fulfilling his academic commitment and continuing his career at Mississippi State University this fall. Robson was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 30th round, 915th overall of this past amateur draft.
The speedy outfielder from Windsor, Ont. is currently representing Team Canada on the International circuit before departing for Mississippi. Robson plays the game like a Canadian version of Jacoby Ellsbury and will dazzle spectators with his bursting speed and future gold glove defence.
Robson appears mature beyond his years and destined for greatness wearing his Canadian pride on his sleeve.
JACOB ROBSON INTERVIEW:
1. How tough of a decision has is it been trying to decide whether to sign with the San Diego Padres or attend Mississippi State and in your opinion do you think you will sign with the Padres?
It’s a tough one for sure. Here’s what goes on in my mind. If I knew I could be re-drafted in my junior year, I would go to school because I can accomplish both my education and improve in baseball. However, it is not a guarantee. On the flip side, if I felt the signing bonus would sustain me through the minor leagues then it makes sense to turn pro now. Adam Stern always tells me I have won two lotteries and there is no bad decision. The Padres called last for my schedule so they could come and watch me play.
2. In saying that have you had any communication with the Padres since the draft and are negotiations going as expected?
Due to my heavy baseball schedule and living on the road, I have not personally spoken to them since draft day. However, they have been speaking with my parents via phone and email. Each call with the Padres, they have reminded us that we had time.
3. Describe “draft day” and the days leading up to the draft, had you had much dialogue with the Padres prior to the draft?
On May 17th, the Padres area scout, Murray Zuk requested a meeting with me and my family. Things went very well. I had gone through this process with other teams so I knew what to expect. In those meetings you learn about the organization and they try to determine your signability.
In the week prior to the draft, I tried to put it out of my mind. I had a job to do in the Dominican with Team Canada and my goal was to leave an impression on the Latin American Scouts through a solid performance, of which I accomplished. Upon my return, I spoke with various scouts directly to determine where I fit in their organization. Their responses were all favourable as they liked my advanced approach to the game at 17 years old. However, I knew this new draft was “unpredictable”. I put that into perspective knowing I had secured Miss State, a solid SEC school and also an opportunity of a lifetime.
Draft day, June 6, my cell phone rang around 8am. It was the Padres scout, Murray Zuk. The Padres wanted to draft me in round 16 and asked if I would sign. I thanked him and then asked for some time to speak with my parents. I called Murray back and expressed my uncertainty. Murray explained to me that they were looking for a sure thing and I simply couldn’t give him that. He kindly explained that I likely would not hear my name called in round 16. I hung up the phone and wondered if I had turned down an opportunity of a life time. I went to school and tried to put it out of my mind. Then shortly before 3 pm I saw my phone ringing and it was Murray again but I couldn’t answer because I was in class. I tried calling him back but there was no answer. Then my mom sent me a text and said the Padres had called my home looking for me and that they decided to draft me in round 30 and they would work the details out later. Needless to say, I was honoured and grateful just to be chosen.
4. What was the greatest obstacle growing up in Canada and what advice do you have for aspiring Canadian baseball players?
The greatest obstacle in my area is definitely the lack of facilities to accommodate for the unfavourable weather. I have four important pieces of advice for aspiring baseball players. 1) Find a quality facility to practice. I travelled weekly to Adam Stern’s facility in London, Ont. for my work outs. He is an outstanding technical coach who vaulted my game to the next level. 2) Get on the best team you can that will afford you the exposure necessary to be seen by MLB scouts and schools. For me, Dan Bleiwas and the Ontario Blue Jays provided me with that opportunity. 3) Attend the annual MLB Scouting Bureau camps. There are scouts and opportunities to be seen by Greg Hamilton, head coach of the Canadian JNT. Attending that camp changed my life forever. 4) Strive for a high GPA if you want to use baseball as a way to get a free education. Maintaining good grades translates to academic money as well as baseball money. This makes you more attractive to a school because the baseball money is limited to 11.7 NCAA scholarships per team.
5. What baseball team did you follow growing up and do you emulate your style around any major league players?
Growing up I followed the Detroit Tigers. Comerica Park was literally five minutes from my home. I emulate my style of baseball around Jacoby Ellsbury. He is a high energy, speed type of player who hits for average. This is what I aspire to do as well.
6. For people who have never seen you play, what type of player can they expect from Jacob Robson?
People can expect me to be an impact player in the lead off position, who hits for average and has exceptional speed. Defensively, I have great range and ball tracking abilities.
7. What has been your biggest baseball related accomplishment to date?
Undoubtedly, representing my country has been the highlight. I am grateful to Greg Hamilton for believing in me. There is no greater feeling than wearing the Canada across my chest.
8. Who has been the most influential person in helping you develop as a baseball player throughout your career?
Hmmm, that’s a hard one. My dad and grandfather laid the foundation. They both coached me growing up and put the time in during those formative years. Greg Hamilton changed my life by allowing me to play for him and represent Canada. Adam Stern’s technical knowledge accelerated my game to an elite level. Dan Bleiwas continued to provide me with exposure with MLB teams and schools.
9. What is the one facet of your game you think you need to improve to make it to the Major Leagues?
Well, everything can improve, but I would say my arm strength. That is the one tool that I look forward to improving.
10. Who has been the toughest pitcher you have faced so far to date in your baseball career and secondly who is the best Canadian player you have played with or against?
I have faced so many pro pitchers over the last year and a half that it is hard to decide. I would say the best pitcher was from the Baltimore Orioles, he was throwing 98 MPH in spring training. I am uncertain of his name though. The best Canadian player I have played against is Brett Lawrie. His aggressive approach to the game is impressive and entertaining.