By Peter Pu
Christian Robinson ’21 knew what it would take to achieve his lifelong goal of playing professional baseball.
Wake up at 5 a.m.
Down a protein bar and a hard-boiled egg.
Sit through classes.
Four years and 146 Stanford games later, he has done it. On July 13, Robinson was drafted by the Atlanta Braves as the 457th overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.
“I’ve been playing baseball for probably 15 years, if you count tee-ball,” Robinson said. “The idea of actually getting paid to play it — that’s really cool.”
Robinson entered the draft after high school, but coming from a family that prioritized education, he decided to play college baseball. Despite originally hoping to go pro in 2017, Robinson said he is glad he chose to play baseball at Stanford.
“The baseball team was very close,” Robinson said. “We were a very tight-knit team, all four years — probably most this year; and having that group of guys that are all doing all these really cool things in the classroom, on the field — it is just a special place.”
Starting as a frosh during the 2018 season, Robinson learned from more experienced players and became more consistent. Robinson marked his improvement as a player, hitting eight home runs this year, coming in clutch with a grand slam against Santa Clara on Feb. 25 to kick off the 2021 season.
“It was unbelievable,” teammate Tim Tawa ’21 said. Tawa was recently drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. “It was what we needed as a team, especially after last year, where we struggled a little bit.”
According to Tawa, Robinson’s physical strength gave him the tools necessary to become a good player. Robinson’s mental game is equally robust — Tawa said he does not stress much about results and can instantly “jump into the cold-water tub” without a second thought.
Robinson’s powerful presence is nothing new. Since high school, he has stood apart from other players. He was a key part of the baseball team’s offense at Viera High School in Melbourne, Florida. According to Bob Doty, Robinson’s high school baseball coach, after freshman tryouts there was no question Robinson would go far.
“I mean, he was like a man among the children,” Doty said. “It was just incredible. I looked at our assistants and said, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we doing?’”
With a high baseball IQ, Robinson’s talent was not solely limited to his physical dominance. He brought elements of his out-of-school physical training to the team and led by example. Robinson will now enter a pool filled with the most naturally talented baseball players from around the world.
“I want to see it,” Tawa said. “I know everybody on our team wants to see that man have success, because he’s just one of those guys who works hard and deserves stuff like that.”
Rather than setting a deadline for himself, Robinson hopes to take baseball a day at a time, and perform to the best of his ability.
“You can have the best thought-out plan, and it’s probably not going to end up going that way; but if you can focus on process, enjoy the day-to-day of it, one way or another it’s gonna work out well for you,” Robinson said.