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Jared Robinson is looking to make it to the big leagues in 2021

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An uptick in Robinson’s strikeout rate in 2019 is intriguing.

2021 New York Mets Photo Day Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Drafted by Cleveland in the eleventh round in 2014, right-handed pitcher Jared Robinson spent six seasons playing in that organization’s minor league system before signing a minor league deal with the Mets following the 2020 season. And he started this year in major league spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Like many new draftees, Robinson got his feet wet in 2014 in rookie ball, pitching 22.0 innings over the course of nine relief appearances. The following year, he pitched at Low-A and made fourteen starts with a 3.25 ERA, 42 strikeouts, and 23 walks in 74.2 innings, a solid if unspectacular outcome for his age-20 season.

In 2016, though, Robinson really struggled as he spent time at Single-A and High-A. Pitching in a multi-inning relief role, he had a 5.04 ERA through his first 55.1 innings of work that year. He was then given five starts, during which he had a 9.23 ERA, before moving back to the bullpen again. If there was a silver lining to his season, it was that Robinson was able to finish the year strong, with a 3.74 ERA in his final 21.2 innings of work over the course of five relief appearances down the stretch. In total, Robinson had a 5.84 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 34 walks in 103.1 innings that year.

Robinson spent his entire age-22 season in 2017 at High-A, and he made four starts to begin that year but struggled in them. Since being moved to the bullpen after those outings, Robinson has pitched exclusively in relief. And for the remainder of the 2017 season, he did well in that role, racking up a 3.00 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 18 walks in 45.0 innings over 31 appearances.

In 2018, Robinson made one appearance in Double-A to start the year but spent the rest of the year repeating High-A. In 53.0 innings over 30 relief appearances, he had a 2.72 ERA, and with 57 strikeouts, his strikeout rate jumped to 9.7 per nine, a significant increase from years past.

Cleveland assigned Robinson to High-A yet again to start the 2019 season, but he spent time in Double-A and Triple-A that year, too. Across all three levels, his strikeout rate increased again, totaling 12.5 per nine innings as he accumulated a 3.34 ERA in 70.0 innings of work. It’s worth noting, however, that Robinson saw walk rate increase significantly as he moved up the ranks—from 2.7 per nine in High-A to 4.4 in Double-A and 7.0 in Triple-A. While his strikeout rate only decreased slightly along the way, that walk problem in Triple-A contributed significantly to a 6.50 ERA at that level.

Robinson, who attended the same high school as former Mets catcher Rod Barajas and was once cut from the baseball team there, is now 26 years old and figures to begin the year in the minors. But if he were to pitch well, especially at Triple-A, there could be an opportunity to get called up for his major league debut at some point in 2021, as the Mets’ bullpen has plenty of question marks in it.