Toronto Blue Jays Top Ten Prospects: #7 Sem Robberse

Maybe ranking right handed Sem Robberse, who may well turn out to be a gem of a late signing from the 2018-19 IFA class, as high as 7th is a bit of a reach, but when you read the reports about Robberse, there certainly is a lot to like:

Brendan Gawlowski of Fangraphs:

Anthony Franco of Prospects Live:

In addition to his high spin rate, command of the strike zone, and feel for pitching, Baseball America rated Robberse’s curve ball the best in the organization.

That’s all pretty heady stuff.

And even though he scuffled a bit (5.23 ERA over 31 IP) after being promoted to Vancouver in August, he had nothing left to prove against Low A hitters (his pitching coach with Dunedin, Drew Hayes, called his last few starts in Florida “borderline non-competitive”)and the conventional wisdom is that anytime a 19 year old makes some noise in full season ball, it’s worthwhile to take notice. And despite getting hit a bit in Vancouver, he still struck out just under a batter per inning

Two things really stand out about Robberse. One is his maturity; he offers good insights beyond the standard cliche in conversation. The other is the progress he’s made when you consider he comes from a very unconventional baseball background. Signed out of the Netherlands’ top league – the Honkball Hoofdklasse, which Blue Jays VP Andrew Tinnish compares to Division II baseball – he had pitched all of 10 innings in 2019 before being shut down. That he’s at High A after about 50 innings of stateside work is incredible, when you stop to think about it. If you didn’t read our profile of Robberse back in August, it might be a good time to have a look at it now. Robberse draws rave reviews from teammates, coaching staff, and the Blue Jays minor league people. They all cite his maturity, his understanding of pitching, and his approach to the game.

Ryan Sloniger had spent several seasons in the Blue Jays system before retiring part way through 2021. Sloniger is a keen student of the game, and shared some thoughts about the time he spent with Robberse in Dunedin:

Robberse will likely return to High A (and hopefully, Vancouver) next year for at least a half season. He should easily make the adjustments necessary to finish the season at New Hampshire. At 19, he has a ton of projection remaining.

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