Sunday, February 14, 2010
Mr. Oriole, Jr.
From 2001-2010, Brian Roberts has been with the Baltimore Orioles. Now, entering his 10th season with the ballclub, Roberts is certainly one of the most popular Orioles of the past decade. In fact, Roberts has signed a contract extension that will keep him with the club for likely the remainder of his career. Roberts has stated in the past that loyalty is important to him, and he would like to be a player that stays with one team for his entire career, which is a rarity in today's game.
Entering 2010, Roberts must see what is the most talented team he's been on since he arrived from the minors nine years ago. He finally sees young talent around him that is growing, and most likely will continue to grow and develop. At age 32, Roberts knows the next few years are critical for him if he ever wants to play in the postseason.
Roberts hit .283 in 2009 with a league leading 56 doubles and 16 home runs. Although he isn't necessarily thought of as a power threat, he still slugs .421 annually, which is not bad considering he is 5'9" tall on a good day.
Roberts has undoubtedly been one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball for the past five years. He is a given to steal 30-50 bases, hit 40-55 doubles, and score over 100 runs. The fact that he is a switch hitter makes him even more dangerous. His feel for the game is unmistakably evident when he plays whether it be in the field, on the bases, or hitting. The one thing I would like to see Roberts do more is bunt. The bunt is a big weapon as even the threat of a bunt moves a third basemen in, thus, creating a better opportunity to hit a ball by him down the line.
Defensively, Roberts makes the routine plays look easy. He is able to get to the ball on his left and right fluidly and with ease, and can make every throw from his second base spot. He will never win a gold glove because he isn't the best second basemen nor does he make flashy plays (mostly because he gets to balls so easily he rarely dives) but Roberts is as solid a fielder as there is in the game these days.
Roberts will most likely have a common year for him. He'll hit around 50 doubles, steal over 30 bags, and hit between 10-20 home runs. He averages over 155 games per year, so he plays everyday. People have gotten on him for not running every ball out to first, but make no mistake about it, he plays with passion and fire everyday. Roberts is quiet leader of the Orioles whose hard work and dedication to the game earn the respect of his teammates. I look for him to have a very solid season in 2010, and to finally break the .500 win mark with the club.