There are a lot of things for Major League scouts to like about West Tenn Diamond Jaxx pitcher Mauricio Robles. The left-hander throws hard, has three pitches to work with and is adaptable.
That recipe resulted in Robles earning his second Double-A win Monday, after he limited the Mobile BayBears to one hit and three walks over six innings in West Tenn's 5-0 victory.
Robles allowed an infield single to the first batter he faced, Evan Frey, in the bottom of the first inning.
Robles (2-1, 2.84 ERA) struck out three, a low number for the dynamic southpaw who throws between 94-96 miles per hour and has a good changeup and a developing curveball. He racked up 145 strikeouts in 123 2/3 innings in 2009 with Class A West Michigan, Class A Advanced Lakeland and, after he was traded from the Tigers to the Mariners in July, with Class A Advanced High Desert.
"I concentrated on throwing my pitches in the strike zone," Robles said. "My key [Monday] was to throw the first pitch for a strike."
Robles threw 51 of his 86 pitches for strikes. The 21-year-old from Venezuela said he struck mainly with his fastball.
"That was all I needed," Robles said.
Relievers Anthony Varvaro and Josh Fields completed the shutout with three innings of hitless relief.
Robles was signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in 2006. He spent two years dominating the Venezuelan League before moving to the United States in 2008 to begin his ascent up the Minor League ladder.
Robles and Luke French were traded by the Tigers to the Mariners in a deal for veteran starter Jarrod Washburn before the trade deadline last year.
The move apparently didn't affect Robles' confidence or his concentration. His ERA after the trade (2.78 in 32 1/3 innings) was significantly lower than it was before the deal (4.23 in 91 1/3 innings).
"I've been going to the weight room, and I have to keep working," Robles said. "My pitching coach said if I throw strikes and keep working, I can go to Triple-A or the big leagues. So I have to keep working."