Last weekend I had the opportunity to see Robert Erlin in person. Robbie is ranked currently as the Texas Rangers #4 prospect, and will be climbing quickly into many top 100 prospect lists.
I continue to hear people say that Erlin does not have a very high ceiling, that he will end up an end of the rotation guy. After watching him pitch I would tend to disagree, why he may not end up as an Ace for any club, he will certainly find his way into the top three of the rotation. He has a smooth delivery, throws for strikes, and is excellent at getting the job done.
Since his promotion to Frisco, Erlin has started three games. The first two game he won impressively, and this past Friday Robbie took on the Padres top prospect Casey Kelly. Erlin walked away with a no-decision, and the RoughRiders were eventually able to pick up a walk-off win.
The twenty year old went seven full innings, allowing five hits and four runs. This doesn’t accurately paint his game; Erlin had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning. The no-hitter was broken up by a line drive to third, a ball that Frisco third-baseman Tommy Mendonca just missed snagging. Another ball was hit to left field and lost in the lights by the outfield. Robbie then allowed a couple of more hits and a two-run homer, you have to wonder how far it would have gone had Mendo caught that ball.
Despite the four runs Erlin’s line with Frisco over three games is impressive –
In my conversation with Frisco play-by-play man Aaron Goldsmith, he had this to say about the lefty-
“At only twenty years old, his polish and presence are pretty impressive. He’s come in and fit in as a starter from day one. He’s got all the maturity and all the determination. Our manager Steve Buechele said you can see the intensity in his eyes, and I’ve never hear Buechele say that about anyone.”
Here is a video of his release I was able to snag -
Erlin is certainly on track to break into the big-league rotation. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do next spring; it’s not far-fetched that he may break camp with the big boys. Tonight he gets his fourth start for the ‘Riders against the Midland Rockhounds (Oakland’s Double-A team).