Sunday, February 23, 2014

Meet A Prospect: Brian Roberts

Brian Michael Roberts was born on October 9, 1977 in Durham, North Carolina. Roberts has not had the easiest path to the majors and through life as he underwent open heart surgery at the age of 5 years old to repair an atrial septal defect. Thankfully the surgery was a success and Roberts went on to graduate from Chapel Hill High School healthy as a horse. Roberts spent his college years at the University of North Carolina playing on the Tarheels baseball team and the University of South Carolina. Roberts has been in Major League Baseball since 2001 spending his entire professional career with the Baltimore Orioles before signing a free agent contract with the New York Yankees this offseason. Let’s meet the man that has some enormous shoes to fill, those of Robinson Cano. 

Roberts batting .427, which was good for the second highest batting average in the ACC that year,  with 102 hits, 24 doubles, and 47 stolen bases in his freshman year at UNC while being named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s Second Team and the Collegiate Baseball Third team. He followed that performance up in his sophomore year hitting .353 with 13 home runs, 49 RBI’s, 21 doubles, 63 stolen bases, and was named to the NCBWA First Team, The Sporting News Second Team, and the Collegiate Baseball Second Team. His 63 stolen bases were more than any other college baseball player that season. Roberts also became the fifth player in UNC’s history to be named the ACC Player of the Year and was a first team All American. Mike Roberts was fired after the 1998 season which prompted Brian to transfer to the University of South Carolina to continue his baseball dreams as a South Carolina Gamecock. Roberts was a short stop for South Carolina and was named the best defensive college player by Baseball America. Roberts had the bat to go with it while posting a .353 average with 12 home runs and 36 RBI and still owns the school and SEC record for stolen bases in a single season with 67. Roberts was once again named an All American and was awarded with being a member of the All SEC Team. Roberts entered the MLB First Year Players Draft in 1999 and was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles.

Roberts wasted no time making his Major League debut as he got all the way to the show by 2001, playing in 75 games for the Orioles that season. Roberts only batted .253 but the Orioles knew they had something special in him. Roberts spent much of the 2002 season in AAA but did play in 38 games for the big league club in 2002 and started the 2003 season back in the minor leagues as well before getting a call up when Jerry Hairston, Jr. suffered an injury. Roberts responded by hitting a grand slam in his second game and finished the 2003 season with a  .270 average in 112 games with 23 stolen bases.  Hairston and Roberts were both on the Orioles roster when 2004 came along but Hairston started the season on the DL after fracturing a finger and Roberts was named the Opening Day starter and was the second basemen for the now and the future. Even when Hairston returned he was moved to right field so Roberts could stay at second base.  Roberts played in 159 games in 2004 and collected a .273 batting average with 175 hits and 50 doubles. The 50 doubles led the American League and was third best in the majors and also broke the Orioles single season record for doubles previously held by Cal Ripken, Jr. This was also the single season American League record for doubles by a switch hitter. The Orioles loved what they had in Roberts and traded Hairston to the Chicago Cubs before the 2005 season for Sammy Sosa thus passing the torch for Roberts to be the starting second basemen for the O’s no questions asked.

Roberts was named the starting second basemen for the All Star Game in 2005, his first appearance, after leading the AL in batting average for the first several months of the season. Roberts then began to slump, and so did the Orioles in the standings, and Roberts dislocated his elbow after colliding with Yankees player Bubba Crosby at first base which ended his season.  Roberts healed well and rebounded well also playing in 138 games in 2006 posting a .286 batting average with 85 runs scored. 36 stolen bases, 55 RBI’s and another DL trip in May of that season. Roberts played in over 150 games in 2007 and earned his second All Star game appearance with 50 more stolen bases while setting career marks in hits and walks. In 2008 Roberts saw himself collect his 1,000th hit, his 250th career double, and saw him ground out into the final out of the history of the Old Yankee Stadium. Roberts 2009 season was one of ups and downs as he signed a new four year deal with the Orioles and was named to Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, replacing injured Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia, and batted .438 with a home run in an eventual loss to Team Japan. The injury bug started to hit Roberts in 2010 as he missed much of Spring Training with a herniated disc in his lower back but did recover in time for Opening Day.  16 games into the season though Roberts suffered an abdominal strain and was placed on the 15 day DL until July. Roberts returned to the lineup and made it all the way until the end of September before suffering a concussion, a self-induced concussion after he hit himself in the head with a baseball bat out of frustration. This would not be his first concussion as he had another on May 16 of 2011 and did not return for the remainder of that season. Through the beginning of the 2012 season Roberts was still on the DL with that concussion but finally made it back to the team on June 12 of that season only to strain his groin on July 3 and land right back on the DL. Roberts had season ending hip surgery on July 29th of 2012 and missed the remainder of the season.  

The injuries did not stop in 2013 as Roberts ruptured a tendon behind in right knee in only the third game of the season and was placed on the 15 day DL. Roberts went into the offseason of 2014 as a free agent and signed with the New York Yankees with a deal worth $2 million plus incentives.  Ignoring the 2007 admission of using steroids by Brian Roberts and his obvious injury history I think, if used correctly, he could really help out the squad. Let’s go out there and prove them all wrong Brian. Welcome to the family.


  1. BRIAN ROBERTS....Over the years, every time I watched Brian Robert's game, I wished he was
    a Yankee. And now he is.
    Again, this to me, is the most under rated signing of this winter.
    I would have to of been born yesterday, not to be aware of the injuries. He does not have a fatal illness,
    but people that get get better. Happens all the time.

    Do I miss Robinson Cano ? No, never will. He wanted to leave, so don't let the door hit you in the ass.
    I've turned the page on him.
    Brian Roberts...a blue collar, dirty uniform......NY Yankee second baseman. Welcome.

    1. This could absolutely be the steal of the offseason, especially if healthy. The thing with his injuries is they have all been "fluke" injuries for the most part. He doesn't play balls to the wall and run into the wall or stuff like that, he just isn't the luckiest guy in the world.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)