Prospects on Deck: 2B Robbie Tenerowicz – Rays
Once a ballplayer signs his pro contract he is on the same playing field as every other guy trying to make it to the bigs. His amateur stats, what round he was drafted in, whether he did or didn’t go to college has no bearing on what his future holds. It is all about the development, results, and attitude a prospect brings to the table.
Today’s Prospect on Deck knows that better than most professional ballplayers. Robbie Tenerowicz is having a stellar 2017 season for the Tampa Bay Rays Single-A affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Kentucky’s lone Midwest League team currently sits at 36-25 and finds themselves in position to clinch a playoff spot thanks in large part to Tenerowicz’s performance with both the bat and the glove.
Drafted out of high school in the 39th round by the Washington Nationals, Tenerowicz, a product of Campolindo High School in California, opted to stay in his home state and play ball at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a sure glove infielder with a solid arm and a lot of range during all three of his college seasons, but Tenerowicz faced some challenges at the plate in the early going of his Cal career.
He hit .168 his freshman season and .182 his sophomore year. Despite the struggles at the plate, Tenerowicz never let it affect his defensive play as he continued to be one of the best infielders in the Pac-12.
Somewhere along the way, Tenerowicz did some adjusting and began to put all of his tools together to showcase his talent. He assembled an All-Pac-12 honorable mention season in his junior year where he hit .299 with a .973 fielding percentage. In that 2016 season he hit six homers, 14 doubles, and three triples with 34 RBI all of which totaled more than his first two seasons combined.
Tenerowicz was drafted again in 2016, this time in the 27th round by the Tampa Bay Rays. He began his pro career in Princeton where he slashed .291/.353/.463 with six homers and 38 RBI. It was good enough for an OPS of .816 and a wRC+ of 125 in 58 games.
After an impressive beginning to his pro career, Tenerowicz started the 2017 season with the Hot Rods and has only gotten better. This year he is walking more (8.1%) and striking out less (16.8%) while improving on every category in his slash line of .299/.369/.492. His wRC+ is up to 143 and all of this is being done with a BABIP 12 points lower than 2016.
The numbers are one thing, but the intangibles and mechanics are another. Tenerowicz passes the eye test as well. At 6’1, 185 lbs, he is a very athletic player who has proven he can play anywhere on the right side of the infield after splitting time at both second and first this season. He is showing the hit tool is there and that his 2016 in both college and the pros were not flukes. The power seems to be coming along as well with his 11 home runs this year.
Tenerowicz is developing right on track and is putting himself in excellent position for another promotion next season. The Rays should feel 100% confident in his defensive ability and it will be interesting to see if the bat, especially the power, can keep on track with the pitching as he moves up in the organization. While he has shown no signs of slowing down, there may be bumps in the road here and there, but I know one thing for sure, you can never count Robbie Tenerowicz out.