Outfielder Daniel Robinson improves since slow hitting start

Central Michigan junior outfielder Daniel Robinson poses for a portrait before practice on April 2 at Theunissen Stadium.

In the 2017 season, Central Michigan outfielder Daniel Robinson led the Mid-American Conference in runs scored and stolen bases. 

To begin the 2018 campaign, Robinson was slow to find his groove at the dish.

“It was more of a slow start than I would have wanted it to be,” Robinson said. “You just have to try not to think about it and focus on the next pitch or next at-bat. Then, when the game is over, just move on to the next game.” 

Along with high MAC accolades, Robinson was the team leader with 75 hits last season, second with a .305 batting average, third with a .389 slugging percentage and fourth in runs batted in with 39. He had 25 multi-hit games. 

Since CMU’s game against Northern Illinois on March 24, Robinson is batting .333, pushing his season average to .221 with one home run and 15 RBIs.

“I’m starting to get some rhythm up there and am seeing the ball better,” Robinson said. “My approach is coming more solid than at the beginning. I’ve improved.” 

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound junior said his early season struggles had nothing to do with his swing, but everything to do with the mental side of the game. 

“It’s a mind thing,” Robinson said. “You can’t think about it too much. You have to make sure your approach is solid, focus and stay positive.” 

CMU baseball coach Steve Jaska is in his 17th season at the helm of the Chippewas. Throughout his time, he has witnessed everything from championships to his players making it to the MLB. 

In Robinson’s situation, Jaksa preached to him the daily grind of getting in the zone while at the plate, both in practice and in the game. 

“That’s a daily thing,” Jaksa said. “He has to lock in today, tomorrow and on the weekend. He has to stay in the moment in each at-bat. Each at-bat has its own game and he has to understand that.

“He’s getting better at that.”

On March 25, CMU lost in DeKalb to Northern Illinois, 9-5, but Robinson managed to register his first home run of the season. Six days later, he drove in two runners and scored three times, helping the Chippewas to a 23-1 victory against Ball State. 

“That was pretty awesome especially coming off the loss on Friday,” Robinson said. “We really put it to them. I’ve never been on a team that’s put up 23 runs.”

Right now, Jaksa does not believe Robinson is more special than anyone else on the team. However, he recognizes his potential and believes the numbers will fall into place at the end of the day. 

“He’s not special yet,” Jaksa said. “He’s a player on the CMU baseball team. What’s special is that I like him and he’s a good person. His job is to help us win every game. Maybe he has more talent, but we have talented guys on the mound and other positions. 

“We are all here for the same reason – to help the team win. When you let individual accomplishes take control, you will fail.”