The Pirates hired Dewey Robinson as their new special advisor for pitching development, coaching and player development last week (John Dreker of Pirates Prospects was the first to report the news). Robinson played three seasons with the White Sox from 1979-81, then embarked on a long coaching career that has included stints as the White Sox bullpen coach in 1993-94 and the Astros’ pitching coach in 2008-09. Robinson also has extensive experience working at the minor league level as a coach and instructor, and has spent the last 12 years working with the Rays, serving as the club’s director of pitching development over the last two seasons.
This time in Tampa Bay overlaps with Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton’s six years as the Rays’ hitting coach, so Shelton and Robinson very likely already have a prior connection. In the bigger picture, Robinson becomes the latest in a long line of former Rays executives, coaches, and staffers poached by other organizations looking to replicate Tampa’s success at developing young talent (and young pitching in particular). The rebuilding Pirates have a particular need for arms, as while GM Ben Cherington has done a good job of restocking the farm system during his two-plus years in Pittsburgh, position players make up the majority of the Bucs’ top prospects.
More from around the baseball world….
- Reds infield prospect Elly De La Cruz received a lot of trade attention this past summer, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans writes, but Cincinnati “didn’t want anything to do with moving him.” De La Cruz was an international signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, and after a solid Dominican Summer League showing in 2019, he made a big impression in his first season in the North American minor league system. The 19-year-old hit a combined .296/.336/.538 with eight home runs over 265 plate appearances with the Reds’ rookie ball (55 PA) and A-ball (210 PA) affiliates. Prospect evaluators took note of the breakout, as Baseball America (4th) and MLB Pipeline (8th) now have De La Cruz entrenched in their rankings of Cincinnati’s top prospects. BA’s scouting report notes that “there are few players in the majors or minors with three 70s on their scouting report. De La Cruz is a plus-plus runner with a plus-plus arm and plus-plus raw power.” Defensively, De La Cruz is a good athlete who might be able to remain at shortstop and could have center field potential, though he has thus far played only shortstop, third base, and some second base in his brief pro career.
- MLBTR’s readers have surely noticed the number of recent posts on this site about players signing or re-signing with Nippon Professional Baseball or the KBO League. While it may seem like more players than ever are heading overseas, the volume of NPB/KBO transactions is more a product of “how there’s no MLB activity going on to otherwise overshadow these moves” than a true increase in players signing outside of North America, R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports writes. It would still be very unlikely to see a truly major name head for Japan or South Korea, as an agency source tells Anderson that “the uncertainty surrounding what the market is going to look like post-lockout is the clearest reason why some of these fringe players are going overseas….the marginal types have zero leverage and teams are going to move through that group of players quickly so more guys are seeking security.” It is also worth noting that notable players were becoming more open to foreign leagues long before the lockout or even the pandemic (i.e. Adam Jones’ two-year, $8MM deal with the NPB’s Orix Buffaloes in December 2019), as players increasingly see NPB and the KBO League as avenues to rebuild their stock for MLB scouts.