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Twins are excited about power lefty Robinson

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a strong junior season as a hard-throwing left-handed reliever for the University of Maryland, Alex Robinson waited patiently for his name to be called on Day 2 of the MLB Draft on Tuesday.

Robinson's parents, Peter and Vicki, made the drive down to Maryland from New York with his brother, Nicholas, to take in the life-changing occasion with Robinson, which came in the fifth round, when he was taken by the Twins with the 140th overall pick.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.

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"It was a pretty special moment to hear them call my name and have my parents there with me," Robinson said. "They were really excited. My mom was crying and my dad was hugging me and all that."

Robinson, 20, fits the mold of a hard-throwing college reliever the Twins have been targeting in the Draft over the last few seasons. He posted a 1.63 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 20 walks in 27 2/3 innings this season.

"He's another power arm," scouting director Deron Johnson said. "He is a reliever. He can run it up to 96 [mph] with a good breaking ball. He's very aggressive."

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Robinson said he didn't get any indication it would be the Twins who would draft him, but he is familiar with Target Field after pitching in the championship game of the Big 10 Tournament there this season.

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"It was an awesome experience," Robinson said. "I hope one day I'll be able to pitch in a Major League game there. I thought it was absolutely outstanding."

Johnson said he could see Robinson moving quickly to the Majors if he can improve his command, as he had 97 strikeouts, but also 78 walks in 100 innings in his three seasons at Maryland.

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"He could probably move fairly quickly; we don't have too many other power lefties in the system," Johnson said. "He kind of scatters the zone. It's not precise command by any means. If we can harness his pitches and get his curveball over, he's got stuff to miss bats."

Robinson said he's ready for the challenge of moving quickly through the Minors, but he knows that it's up to him to get the results.

"I see myself as a reliever, and hopefully in a back-end role like I did this season," Robinson said. "To have the opportunity to move fast in the system would be awesome, but I know I need to prove myself and I'm ready to do that."

Robinson, though, will have a familiar face with him in the Minor League system, as the Twins drafted his Maryland teammate, center fielder LaMonte Wade, in the ninth round. Robinson is close friends with Wade, and said once he heard Wade was also drafted by the Twins, he met up with him to celebrate and congratulate him.

"That was unbelievable," Robinson said. "We're extremely close. We're just really excited to be able to spend some more time together on the field. We're both really looking forward to it."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.
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