Robertson's Looks Are Deceiving

Undersized outfielder puts up big numbers





SAN DIEGO—Look at Dan Robertson take batting practice and you wonder why they let the high school kids on the field. Watch Dan Robertson in action and you see why the Padres see him as a potential big leaguer.

At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, Robertson will never be a home run threat. But through 82 games at high Class A Lake Elsinore, the 2008 33rd-round pick out of Oregon State was hitting .311/.384/.425 in 360 at-bats with 21 stolen bases.

"I can't tell you how much I like that kid," said Dave Roberts, a special assistant for baseball operations. "Maybe because I'm a small guy, but this kid can play. I know he's a sleeper, but I think he has a chance to make it.

"I see a lot of myself in him."

Roberts played 10 seasons in the big leagues, so Robertson was flattered by Roberts' comments.

"Because of my size, Dave Roberts was a guy I watched," Robertson said. "Our games are similar. We need to use our speed to make a living."

Robertson played three seasons at Concordia University in Irvine. He transferred to Oregon State for his senior season because he wanted to experience big-time college baseball. The Padres noticed and took him late in the 2008 draft. He hit .377 with 20 steals that summer at short-season Eugene and was named the Northwest League MVP after setting a league record with 114 hits. He hit .296 last year for low Class A Fort Wayne as the Tin Caps won the Midwest League title. And he has been playing even better this season.

"I'm living my dream because I feel I was prepared for pro ball," Robertson said. "Playing at Oregon State was a huge help and playing summer ball in the Northwoods League was a big help. Baseball is a game of polish. The older you are, the more polished you become, the more confident you are. The biggest difference between pro ball and college is the mental toll playing every day takes. You need to be prepared every day."

FATHER FIGURES

• San Antonio lefthander Cory Luebke was the organization's pitcher of the month, going 4-0, 1.89. In 38 innings, he walked only six with 27 strikeouts.

• Lake Elsinore closer Brad Brach had just two blown saves this season and 28 saves to his credit. In 39 appearances, covering 39 innings, he walked five with 43 strikeouts. Brach has blown just three saves over the last two years, saving 61 games in 64 chances.