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Robertson proves size doesn't matter

Diminutive outfielder earns MVP honors as Northwest League reveals All-Stars
August 28, 2008
There may not be a more unlikely Most Valuable Player in recent memory than Daniel Robertson.

The diminutive Eugene Emeralds outfielder was given the prestigious award Thursday as the Northwest League announced its Postseason All-Star Team.

Robertson, all 5-foot-9, 175 pounds of him, is certainly a deserving choice after leading the league with a .371 average this season. He displayed the ability to do a bit of everything, ranking in the top 10 in the league in RBIs (40), doubles (17), stolen bases (20) and walks (31).

Surely even the Padres organization didn't expect this much from Robertson, who was selected in the 33rd round of June's First-Year Player Draft. Robertson had played only one season at Oregon State after spending three years at Concordia College.

The Emeralds, who stand two games behind first-place Salem-Keizer in the West Division, were second in the league with three All-Star selections. Sawyer Carroll joined Robertson in the All-Star outfield after bashing eight home runs in his first 46 games out of college. Carroll has since been promoted to the Midwest League.

Eugene's final selection was Rob Musgrave, who finished in a tie with Spokane's Tim Murphy as the league's best southpaw reliever. Both were high-profile starters in college this spring.

The league's most talented team, at least in terms of All-Star selections, was the Boise Hawks, who stand six games behind the Spokane Indians in the East Division.

Boise boasted the league's highest draft pick in Josh Vitters, who was chosen third overall in the 2007 Draft. Vitters was the league's only unanimous All-Star selection after smacking a league-high 22 doubles. His .329 average ranks him fourth in the Northwest League batting race.

The Hawks' double-play combination was chosen to represent the league as shortstop Ryan Flaherty and second baseman Josh Harrison were All-Star selections in their first professional summer.

Flaherty's .513 slugging percentage is fourth in the league. He bashed 17 doubles and seven home runs in his first 50 games. Harrison didn't last long in the league, batting .351 with a .462 on-base percentage and .509 slugging average in 33 games before joining manager Ryne Sandberg's Peoria Chiefs of the Class A Midwest League.

Currently second behind Robertson in the batting race with a .355 average, Ryan Keedy rounds out Boise's All-Star selections. Keedy was chosen as the designated hitter rather than the first baseman, denying the Hawks a clean sweep in the infield. Instead, the league selected Salem-Keizer first baseman Mike Loberg, whose 49 RBIs in 68 games lead the league.

Loberg was the lone representative of the first-place Volcanoes. The league's other first-place team, the Spokane Indians, had two All-Stars -- Murphy and Wilfredo Boscan, who leads the league with eight wins and is one off the circuit's top spot with 66 strikeouts. Spokane skipper Tim Hulett also took home the Manager of the Year trophy after leading the Indians to a league-high 46 victories.

The Tri-City Dust Devils were the only other team to have two All-Stars, including the other top pitcher award. Kenneth Durst was honored as the league's top southpaw, ranking in the top 10 in ERA (3.34) and strikeouts (60) out of West Virginia University. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon was the other All-Star Dust Devil. He is currently third in the league with a .331 average, showing a propensity for doubles (17) and stolen bases (13).

The final offensive All-Star slot belongs to catcher Travis Howell of Everett. Howell has played just 48 games this summer, but his .403 on-base percentage illustrates his fantastic patience at the plate.

Rounding out the team is Vancouver Canadiens reliever Jose Guzman, who countered Murphy and Musgrave as the league's top right-handed reliever. Guzman's 13 saves tie him for the league lead and he owns a 2.56 ERA in 25 appearances, striking out 33 in 31 2/3 innings.

Bryan Smith is an associate reporter for