Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Oscar Robles Report

Bumped because of new information

Oscar Robles, 2B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Drafted 80th Overall (3rd Rd), 1994 Draft, HS, San Diego, CA
Bats L/Throws R
29 YO, 5'11", 155 lbs

Robles was purchased recently from Diablos Rojos del Mexico, or if you prefer, the Mexico City Red Devils of the Mexican Summer League. The fee is rumored to be well into 6 figures. Since he's spent most of his career in the Mexican and independent leagues, data on him is hard to find at this point, especially if you don't speak spanish, which I don't.

Here's what I can find so far. He was drafted by the Astros out of high school. The next reference I can find is that he was in spring training with San Diego in 2003 before being sent back to Mexico. He hit .382/.473/.552 in 335 at bats. He hit 23 doubles, 5 triples, and 8 home runs. The stat line that I have is partial, so at best, I can estimate that he drew approximately 60 walks in that sample. That's not bad at all. Anytime you can hit for that high an average, rap some extra base hits, and draw walks in approximately 15 percent of your plate appearances, you're doing pretty well. He also played some very good defense at both second and third. This offseason, the Dodgers brought him into spring training, but ended up sending him back.

In light of LA's woes at the hot corner, they were desperate to bring in more bodies that can cover the position. They may even think they have a sleeper. I don't know.

It is hard to put his Mexican League numbers in context. On one hand, the Mexican Summer League is a high level league, and if you can hit there, you can just flat hit. On the other hand, Mexico City has an elevation of 7400 feet above sea level, so park effects are almost certainly messing with his numbers. Given this information, the Dodgers don't have a star. They probably have a capable utility infielder who can play some defense and be a reasonable contact hitter. He won't likely hit for much power, though he might draw some walks. Don't pick him up for your fantasy team, but keep an eye on their box scores.

ETA: Now
2 Stars, though with incomplete information muddying the picture.

Update: Baseball Prospects casts more light on his backstory in today's Prospectus Triple Play.

As a backup to Edwards the Dodgers can use Olmedo Saenz--not really convincing as a third baseman but passable in an emergency--and Oscar Robles. Robles is an interesting example of the advantages of scouting international teams in places like the Mexican League. A Tijuana native who prepped in San Diego, Robles was drafted as a shortstop by Houston in 1994 and made it all the way to Triple-A for three games in 1997. He was intractably stuck in the depth chart behind Carlos Guillen and Julio Lugo, and when a badly dislocated ankle caused him to miss all of 1999 he was released by the Astros. Robles hooked up with the Mexican League in 2000, where he posted a cumulative line of .334/.429/.380 in his five years there. He joined the Dodgers in spring training this year and hit a robust .438/.514/.563 in 32 at-bats. Again, as with Edwards, the lack of power is concerning and could be exposed by the tougher pitchers in the major leagues, but for a backup shortstop/third baseman, a reasonable batting average with some plate discipline should be useful.



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