On Friday night, Clint Robinson's two-run home run was the difference in the Washington Nationals' 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. The 30-year-old, left-handed hitting and throwing first baseman/outfielder went 1 for 4 on the night, leaving him 24 for 84 with a .286/.375/.476 line, four doubles, four home runs, 12 walks and 10 Ks in 96 plate appearances since he began getting regular starts at the end of May (5/22).
For the 2007 Kansas City Royals' 25th Round pick, it's been quite a long path to the place he finds himself in right now, getting regular at bats with the Nationals, who are without their expected everyday starter at two positions, first base and left field, with Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth currently on the DL, that Robinson happens play, though he's filled in in right too.
"He provides a lot of different things for us," Nats' skipper Matt Wiliams told reporters after the Nationals' win. "Outfield defense, infield defense, he puts together a good at bat and has power to his pull side as well. So he got a pitch to hit tonight and didn't miss it."
After eight minor league seasons with three different teams, the position he finds himself in, Williams said, is the result of years of hard work.
"It's perseverance isn't it?" Williams said. "It's a long time in the minor leagues with success at every level and he's finally getting an opportunity to play in the big leagues.
"Getting an opportunity because of injury to play on a regular basis and showing us what he can do. He's been very productive for us."
The home run, on a 1-1 fastball from Peavy that missed Buster Posey's target by a good half a plate and ended up belt-high inside to Robinson, allowed him to show off his power and the short, simple swing Williams and the Nats' scouts thought would allow him to have success at the majors when they signed him this winter.
"That's an example of why he's had such success," the major league slugger-turned-manager said.
"Because there [aren't] a whole lot of moving parts, it's simple and he's a big guy so he's got strength and power and he can put that simple swing on a baseball and have it do what it did tonight. So that also provides good on-base percentage, a high average because it is simple and it's quick to the baseball."
Robinson's ability to play first, left and right has also helped a great deal as the Nationals have dealt with the injuries they have this season.
"He's provided us the opportunity to get him in there at first base," Williams said. "Early on anyway he didn't get much opportunity at first, it was more in the outfield, but that was because [Zimmerman] was playing every day, so need is one thing and opportunity that's put in front of you, he's taken advantage of that. So we're going to keep putting him the lineup when we get a chance to do so and ask him to continue to be productive for us. He's done a great job."
That even included putting him in the lineup against Madison Bumgarner on Saturday, in Robinson's first major league start against a left-handed pitcher.
"He stayed in there good," Williams told reporters, after Robinson went 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored.
"He really did. Stayed in there really well. Even the first at bat he was right on it and then followed with a couple of hits after that.
"That's a product of the stuff we were talking about last night with his swing and how short it is and how compact it is for a big guy."
In 56 games this season, Robinson now has a .273/.350/.438 line with seven doubles, four home runs, 15 walks and 19 Ks in 143 PAs.
[ed. note - "SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 one-day fantasy baseball league today. It's $3 to join and first place wins $8,000. Enter now! CLICK HERE!"]