In The Blood

Stuff more than heredity makes Tyler Robertson a prospect




MINNEAPOLIS—It's no surprise that Tyler Robertson has a high baseball IQ. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound lefthander is the son of longtime scout Jay Robertson, who formerly worked for the Twins and is currently a special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.

The Twins drafted Robertson, 20, in the third round in 2006 out of high school in Fair Oaks, Calif.

Robertson said having a parent involved in the game at such a high level paid dividends as he grew up.

"I used to go to games with him every chance I could," Tyler Robertson said of his father. "We talked about a lot of baseball, pitching mostly."

After beginning his pro career in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2006, he opened 2007 in extended spring training. But when a rotation spot opened at low Class A Beloit, he seized the opportunity.

He went 9-5, 2.29 in 18 games, fanning 123 and walking 33 in 102 innings. He capped that year's effort by striking out 20 in two Midwest League playoff starts.

"When I stayed in extended, I learned a lot and worked hard," Robertson said. "My goal when I got to Beloit was to throw like I knew I could and show everyone that's where I belonged in the first place."

Robertson was 2-2, 3.04 with 49 strikeouts and 19 walks in 50 innings over eight starts with high Class A Fort Myers this season. The rotation also included Jeff Manship, Deolis Guerra and Alex Burnett, which Robertson called good competition.

"We all pull for each other but feed off one another, too," he said. "If one guy throws good, you always want to one-up it your next chance. It's good, fun competition."

Robertson is a physical pitcher who attacks hitters with a sinking fastball in the low 90s and a hard slider that is one of the best in the system. He is working on developing a third pitch this season.

The organization has confidence that Robertson will only improve as he gains more experience, expecting him to become a No. 2 or 3 starter.

TWIN KILLINGS

• The Twins claimed shortstop Sergio Santos, 24, on waivers from the Blue Jays and assigned him to Triple-A Rochester.

• Lefthander Francisco Liriano was showing improved efficiency and results with Rochester as he battled back from Tommy John surgery. In his first three starts (13 innings), he struck out 10 and walked 12. In his next three (21 innings), the ratio was 12-to-4.0813