August 27, 2013 by Wayne McBrayer with photos by Rebecca Herman
ON THE FARM IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
~~WITH ROBBIE ERLIN, 2013~~
“T-Ball, sliding into 2nd and getting called out because you’re not allowed to slide” was what Robbie Erlin told us was the earliest memory of baseball. Not quite the first memory one would expect a pitcher to have. Growing up in Northern California, he was a fan of the Oakland A’s. “I watched the big 3 in Oakland; Zito, Mulder and Hudson. I was a pitcher growing up so I just liked to watch them pitch.” Robbie’s dad started teaching him to pitch as he moved farther along in Little League Baseball. As a senior at Scotts Valley High School he was voted the MVP of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League and to the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s all-county team. Robbie posted a 9-1 mound record with a 0.34 ERA and 125 strikeouts in just 62 innings pitched. He had four shutouts and one no-hitter and pitched 45 scoreless innings during the seasons. He also showed that he could swing the bat posting a whopping average of .510 with 28 RBI and 33 runs scored. Talk about shades of Steve Carlton at the plate! Robbie committed to Cal Poly on a baseball scholarship. “I was committed to Cal Poly as a Kinesiology major. I don’t know it might have been too much school though.” It is interesting that a pitcher would select a field that studies human motion.
In 2009, the Texas Rangers selected Robbie Erlin in the 3rd round of the draft and he decided to forgo college and sign a contract to play in the Rangers organization. “Getting drafted was a great day” for Robbie who was send to the Arizona League Rangers where he struck out 9 in only 4 innings. For 2010, Robbie was moved to the A Hickory Crawdads where he posted a 6-3 record with a 2.12 ERA. In 114 innings, Robbie struck out 125 while walking only 17. 2011 saw Robbie get promoted to the A+ Myrtle Beach where he continued to display good control. In 54 innings, Robbie walked only 5 batters while striking out 62, posting a 2.14 ERA for the season, which earned Robbie a spot on the 2011 AA Frisco Roughriders. He struggled a little bit with a 4.32 ERA, but still showing good control walking only 7 and striking out 61 in 66 innings.
On July 31, 2011 – in the middle of a series with the Padres AA San Antonio Missions – Padres GM Jed Hoyer traded reliever Mike Adams to the Rangers in exchange for Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin. Both players moved across the field and joined their new team, where they would play a role in the Championship Run of the Missions. Pitching in 6 games for the Missions, Robbie had a sparkling 1.38 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 26 innings with only 4 walks. “Winning the Texas League Championship with the San Antonio Missions was pretty special.” Robbie said looking back and reflecting on the season. When the season concluded, the Padres sent Robbie to the Arizona Fall League where he finished 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 6 walks in 23 innings.
2012 saw Robbie headed back to San Antonio and was pitching well before suffering tendonitis in his elbow. He missed over 2 months of the season, but the Padres organization didn’t want to risk having Robbie damage his arm. After a few innings of AZL rookie ball, Robbie returned to San Antonio where he finished 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA striking out 72 in 52 innings with 14 walks.
With nothing left to prove in AA, the Padres moved Robbie up to the AAA Tucson Padres in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He has struggled somewhat this year, but that is to be expected for a 22 year old facing former major league hitter and top prospects. On April 24, Robbie was called up by the Padres and made his major league debut in the 9th inning of a game against the Cubs. He was optioned back to Tucson May 2nd. On June 1st, the Padres needed a starter after a 17 inning game with Toronto in which they used next day’s slated starter Clayton Richard to pitch the last 2 innings, the Padres called up Robbie for the day to face the Blue Jays. Robbie pitched 6 2/3 innings giving up 8 hits, 2 runs 0 walks and 4 strikeouts and the Padres held on to win 4-3 earning Robbie his first career win. They recalled him again on June 25 to face the Phillies the next day. He went 6 innings again allowing 2 runs walking 1 and striking out 7, but the bullpen blew the lead and the game. Erlin started 2 more games for the Padres and didn’t pitch well, giving up 3 runs to Boston in 3 innings and 9 runs to the Nationals in 4 innings, and once again Robbie was sent back to AAA. No worries folks, he will be here as a starter soon enough.
In the meanwhile, be sure to connect with Robbie …. Follow on Twitter @RobbieErlin27
For Robbie Erlin’s current stats with Tucson, click HERE
Kino Stadium is a wonderful ballpark where the staff ensures that there is something fun and exciting going on for the fans all the time. This is the last season for the AAA Tucson Padres as they will be moving to El Paso Texas for the 2014 season. Only THREE more home games of the Tucson Padres at Kino Stadium. We encourage you to come out for the last three games – if so – look for us as we will be there! Follow @TucsonPadres