Who knew that Melvin Mora was going to be the next Wally Pipp?
Mora went into the 2011 season as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting third baseman, but whether it be the flu, a jammed left foot, or whatever, Mora hasn’t been able to get on the field that much for Arizona. His absence from the starting lineup has opened the door for Ryan Roberts.
Drafted in the 18th round of the 2003 MLB June Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, Roberts has been on three teams in his six-year Major League career and has been mostly a utility player. Baseball-Reference has one of his positions as Pinch-Hitter. Yikes.
Now that has been given the chance to play almost everyday, he is on a hot streak like no other for Arizona. Roberts hit his fifth HR last night, a solo shot off of Mike Zagurski and is now batting .333 on the season with a .433 OBP. His .316 ISO is good for 10th in all of baseball.
This power surge is really unexpected considering he never hit more than 12 HR’s in any minor league season. He’s turned into Jose Bautista Light overnight.
But as hot as Roberts is right now, I don’t see him having continuing this pace throughout the season and Bautista he won’t be.
One of the main reasons for Roberts’ success at the early stages of this season is his ability to just crush fastballs. His wFB (Fastball Runs Above Average) is 7.5. That’s good for fifth in all of baseball.
However, he has really struggled against offspeed pitches this year. He has been less than average on curveballs, sliders, and changeups.
Baseball is a game of adjustments. Pitching coaches and pitchers will adjust to Roberts. Now it will be up to Roberts to adjust to those adjustments against something not identified as a fastball.
If he can’t make those adjustments, then he will go back to being Roberts the utility guy or pinch-hitter as Baseball-Reference called him rather than the next Bautista.
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