Outfielder Daniel Robinson looks forward to playing in Los Angeles Dodgers organization
After the 25th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Central Michigan outfielder Daniel Robinson put his phone down.
"Okay, maybe I'm not going to get picked up this year," he whispered to himself.
Four rounds later, his phone rang. Robinson answered.
The Los Angeles Dodgers had selected him in the 29th round of the draft.
“I was really excited," Robinson said. "It’s something I have worked for my entire life and something I didn’t know was going to happen. I think everyone who plays wants to get an opportunity to play professionally and have a shot to make it to the major league level."
After getting drafted, Robinson had to pick between returning to Central Michigan for his senior year or taking his talents to the Dodgers organization. He slept on it for a night before ultimately choosing professional baseball.
Robinson's favorite player throughout his time at Grosse Point North High School was Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
“He’s one of my favorite players, so I followed the Dodgers a lot," Robinson said. "With them going to the World Series last year, I had a chance to watch them often. They weren’t my favorite team, but I’ve always been a fan, so it's pretty cool.”
At 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, Robinson mashed five home runs and 43 RBI, leading the team. He hit .300 and stole 11 bases.
Robinson credits head coach Steve Jaksa for helping him achieve his goal of playing professionally by growing his on-field abilities and maturity off the field.
“I think coach Jaska did a great job of preparing me to go out every day and give it my all, hustle, take the day one game at a time and handle adversity," he said. "He taught us to play with heart and do our best to win each game. On the field, that’s how coach Jaksa, and all our coaches, did an excellent job.
“Off the field, all our coaches encouraged us to do community service. Coach Jaska always talked about the importance of treating people with respect – our peers, classmates and people in the dorms.”
Right now, Robinson is in camp in Arizona. On June 17, he will learn if he will start in the Arizona Summer League or with the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors. He is unsure which outfield position the organization wants him to play.
Robinson, in order to move up with the Dodgers, plans to separate each at-bat he takes. After Rookie-level Ogden, the Dodgers organization includes the Single-A Great Lakes Loons, High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Double-A Tulsa Drillers and Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.
“There’s going to be growing pains with the pitching, travel and overall grind," Robinson said. "I just have to attack each day as it is a brand-new day. There’s going to be a lot of adversity and some good times.”
The Dodgers have now selected a Central Michigan player in two of the last three drafts. In the 2016 MLB Draft, Los Angeles added infielder Zach McKinstry, who is now playing for High-A Rancho Cucamonga.
This time around, it was Robinson. The outfielder will likely get some time with the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors before making his way to the Single-A Great Lakes Loons, who play in Midland, Mich.
McKinstry was picked in the 33rd round and is hit .377 with three home runs and eight RBI for Great Lakes to start the season before getting called up to High-A on May 31.
“Hopefully I’m fortunate to play for the Loons," Robinson said. "It would be really nice to play in the state of Michigan. I’m used to playing there. Mount Pleasant isn’t far from Midland, so I’m familiar with the area and my family could come see me play. It would be an awesome opportunity.”
The most exciting thing yo Robinson about being a professional is the opportunity to continue doing what he loves - playing baseball.
“I’m most excited to learn more about the game of baseball," he said. "In the few days in Arizona, I’ve learned things that I’ve never learned before. I’m pumped to learn from coaches and other players to become better.”