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Kramer Robertson: From Risk To Goat

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Don’t forget the K Man’s turnaround.

Adam Henderson

How is this for a career arc through three seasons?

2014 Kramer Robertson (47 games, 100 ABs): .200/.290/.339, 20 RBIs, 1.24 K/BB

2015 Kramer Robertson (27 games, 111 ABs): .232/.286/.338, 5 RBIs, 1 K/BB

2016 Kramer Robertson (66 games, 259 ABs): .324/.440/.417, 39 RBIs, .74 K/BB

After a decent enough freshman season that saw him lose his starting spot in favor of a better, more established bat, Robertson once again lost his opening day starting spot in 2015 to mediocre play and injuries. And I’m man enough to admit that coming into the season, I was wondering if Robertson would go for the hat trick in his junior year. I doubted Kramer Robertson. Boy was I wrong for that.

Robertson was a mainstay at shortstop after moving over from second (the same way his mother became a mainstay in the stands after basketball season ended) because he did it all for LSU. Robertson became a leader on a team that desperately needed one thanks to eight position players leaving, anchoring both the defense and offense. He turned into a complete contact batter with consistency from a “put the bat out there and hope for the best” spot in the lineup. When LSU was in a jam Kramer was there to make a stop to get an out or save a run. He committed 13 errors on the year, but the bulk of that can be attributed to the nature of playing shortstop (Alex Bregman had 9 last year and that’s considered outstanding for a player in the 6th position).

But the tangibles only go so far. What really won me over on Robertson was his energy and mentality. When the offense was sputtering Robertson was almost always there with a single or double to create a spark by standing on the base and signaling back to the dugout. He was never rattled and remained vocal at all times. Twice this season-TWICE-he bled on Skip Bertman Field and carried on as if it didn’t happen.

After taking a Fraley frozen rope off the face against Arkansas that just barely pre-dates the Rally Possum, Fraley told head coach Paul Mainieri “don’t even think for a second I’m coming out of this game”. Robertson would need emergency orthodontic surgery for his mouth and would have a Marge Simpson upper lip, but he’ll be damned if he was coming out of game and giving up his spot for just a second.

And that’s why I think if Kramer Robertson didn’t become one of your all time favorite Tigers this season, then you must not truly be a fan of the school. Sure, it’s easy to list the guys that were great like Alex Bregman, Aaron Nola, and Mikie Mahtook, but I place a hell of a lot more emphasis on attitude than I do talent when it comes to listing my favorite Tigers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they enjoyed their time playing for LSU and love the school, but outside of Mahtook I don’t think they played with the same meaning that Kramer had. When Kramer announced that he was returning there was a sense of “well yeah” because it was obvious from watching him that LSU baseball was a part of Robertson and he wasn’t ready to leave it just yet.

Also he was drafted by Cleveland and really, who wants to live in Cleveland?

I realize that I’m talking about him in a way that’s unquantifiable and in no way defendable beyond my opinion. But I’m gonna ask you to do one thing: regardless of what happens next season or the seasons after it when he departs from the program, don’t forgot Kramer Robertson. Don’t forget what he meant for the 2016 team. Don’t forget the clutch bat. Don’t forget the diving stops to save runs and keep LSU in close games. Don’t forget his attitude. Don’t forget how prideful he was in purple and gold.