On the deadline to sign this year’s draft picks, the Tigers got a lot of attention for signing Jacob Turner, Andrew Oliver, and Daniel Fields. That same day they also inked their 30th round pick, lefty hitting first baseman James Robbins from Shorecrest High School in Washington. The signing flew a little under the radar, but Robbins is the first of the 4 to see game action and he homered in his first 2 games for the GCL Tigers and his pro career is off to a great start. Robbins was kind enough to answer some questions for DTW.
DTW: You signed pretty much at the deadline. Can you tell us a little about the negotiations, were you in continual contact with the Tigers or did things pick up quickly at the end?
JR: I never really had continual contact with the Tigers. Negotiations picked up the last few days right before the deadline. So it ended up being last minute.
DTW: You had a commitment to WSU. What was the biggest factor in your decision to sign with the Tigers and was Miguel Cabrera’s long term deal and the fact he plays first base a factor at all, or do the Tigers have plans for other positions for you?
JR: I can’t say it had a major factor in my decision other than I just wanted to play baseball. It’s been a dream of mine and I wanted to pursue it. Cabrera’s deal didn’t play into my choice at all. And as far as other positions I have thrown a few bullpens but not sure what will come from it.
DTW: You’re on the opposite corner of the country from your home, what’s that adjustment been like?
JR: The adjustment for me has been fairly easy. The first few days were a big change for me but after that everything has gone smoothly. Everyone has been great to me and its making for an easy transition.
DTW: You’ve gotten off to a very quick start for the GCL Tigers including homers in your first 2 games. Can you take us through your first professional homer? What was the situation, what was the pitch, and did you know it was gone off the bat?
JR: My first home run was exciting for me. Right off the bat I didn’t think it was gone. There were two guys on, second and third, and I was just trying to find a way to get them in. The pitcher threw me a fastball, and when I hit it I thought it going to be a sac fly, but ended up going out.
DTW: Has the organization set an offseason training regimen for you, I’m assuming that you’ll stick around for the Instructional League but what’s after that?
JR: As far as the offseason I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. They haven’t given me anything yet as far as a training regimen. But I will be back for Instructional League.
DTW: What are your first impressions of the Tiger Town complex in Lakeland?
JR: My first impressions have been great, I’m really enjoying myself. All the facilities are nice and its just a great complex to play at.
DTW: Now for some light stuff. What’s your favorite band/tv show/movie? And in terms of uniforms, do you prefer high socks or the pants pulled down to the ankles? A straight bill on the cap or curved?
JR: I can’t say that I have a favorite band, tv show or movie. But I listen to a variety of music, watch anything sports on tv and for a movie, the hockey movie Miracle. As far as the uniform I’m old school, I like the high socks and stirrups they have us wear for the Tigers. And I like my hat to have a little curve to it.
I’d like to thank James for taking the time to talk with DTW and wish him continued success in his pro career.