As the injuries pile up again, the Detroit Tigers are busily making roster moves. The latest is the promotion of outfielder Jacob Robson from Triple-A Toledo. He’ll be active for the Tigers game with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday afternoon. The Tigers have moved starting pitcher Matthew Boyd to the 60-day injured list temporarily in order to open a 40-man roster spot for Robson.
The move comes as a response to Niko Goodrum’s injury in Wednesday’s nights contest in Baltimore. Goodrum suffered a left groin strain running out his RBI double, and has been moved back to the 10-day IL. The Tigers had already promoted first baseman Renato Nuñez and infielder Zack Short in place of Derek Hill and Akil Baddoo, who were injured in a collision on Tuesday night.
Matthew Boyd has already been on the injured list for 58 days, so moving him to the 60-day IL is inconsequential. Boyd does appear just about ready for a rehab assignment, and could rejoin the Tigers in the coming weeks.
The 26-year-old Robson is a Windsor, Ontario native. He was selected by Detroit in the eighth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Mississippi State. Robson was a staple on farm system lists after he was drafted, but as the Tigers’ system improved and his issues with hitting premium stuff became apparent he’s generally been relegated to the fringes of the lists as an org player.
Robson was drafted as a center fielder and has played the position regularly in the minor leagues. While not a plus defender, he has the speed to cover a lot of ground and should be a serviceable center fielder who can also play either corner spot.
At the plate, Robson shows a good eye for the strike zone and has generally drawn his share of walks. There is plenty of swing and miss in the profile however, and he’s struggled with premium velocity and breaking stuff in his minor league career. He’s not a major threat on the basepaths, but there’s enough speed there to steal some bags as well.
In our 2019 scouting report on him, Jacob Markle noted that Robson was starting to find a bit more power. That development stalled after minor gains. He has hit .275 with a 128 wRC+ this season across 214 plate appearances with the Mud Hens this season. That comes with a sky high BABIP and a strikeout rate of 36 percent, so keep your hopes modest.
As with a lot of older prospects, the loss of the 2020 minor league season came at a particularly tough time for him. In 2019, he was a 24-year-old fringe prospect who looked to have an outside chance at a part-time role. After the year off, he’s now 26 and squeezed out into the margins. It may not be a very long stay in Detroit, but after a lot of work it is nice to see him rewarded with a stint in the major leagues.