The list of two-way stars in college baseball reads like a who’s who of some of the biggest names in the sport.
You’ve got guys like Brendan McKay from Louisville and Virginia’s Adam Haseley, for example, both players who have excelled in a big way both at the plate and on the mound. Austin Peay’s Alex Robles might not be a name that comes to mind alongside those superstars right away, but given his production and promise for the coming year, perhaps it should be.
The Tucson, Arizona, native has been outstanding for his entire career.
As a freshman in 2014, Robles was Peay’s leading hitter on the season, with a .349 batting average. He also had a .405 on-base percentage, a .450 slugging percentage, 14 doubles, and 39 RBI to go along with it. On the mound, he was just as steady, going 6-2 with a 3.63 ERA. In 84.1 innings of work, he struck out 56 and walked just 20.
In 2015, he put up similar numbers in both disciplines. As a hitter, he had a .328/.406/.456 slash line with 12 doubles, 39 RBI, and a 21/20 walk-to-strikeout ratio. As a pitcher, he was 6-3 with a 3.31 ERA. In 84.1 innings (yes, he threw the exact same amount of innings in back-to-back seasons), he struck out 65, walked 17, and allowed opponents to hit just .216 against him.
He continued his consistent play as a junior by hitting .317/.414/.437 with ten doubles, 39 RBI (for the third year in a row), and a 28/24 walk-to-strikeout ratio. As a starting pitcher, some of his numbers weren’t quite as good, but he was an absolute workhorse. He went 10-6 with a 4.67 ERA. In 98.1 innings pitched, he struck out 89, walked 32, and had a .267 opponent batting average.
Two things really stand out about Robles. One is how astoundingly similar his seasons have been (particularly his freshman and sophomore seasons, when he put up nearly identical stat lines) for the Governors. The other is how productive he has been for his entire career. Often, with two-way players, one aspect of their game is ahead of the other early on, and it might take a while for the player to be a real weapon both ways. That hasn’t been the case with Robles, however, and that’s a trend he will look to continue into 2017.