Starting today, for the next couple of weeks, I’ll give you my ranking of the Diamondback’s eight positional starters–from glorified utility man to MVP candidate. I probably just gave #8 and #1 away there…oops.
These will be my rankings of the eight position players–minus pitcher–who I project will be the opening day starters for the D-Backs. You could almost consider this an unbiased view of how the D-Backs are viewed nationally, since until recently I had no allegiances to the Diamondbacks.
Among the names that have intrigued me the most on the D-Backs is Ryan Roberts. I’m a sucker for a good story and the heavily tattooed former utility man has found his niche with the D-Backs. A middling prospect–he peaked as the #10 Blue Jays prospect by Baseball America in 2006–Roberts has been good enough to fight off all competitors for the starting third base job over the last 1 1/2 season. He will enter 2012 after coming off an outstanding NLDS that saw him hit .350 with 2 HR and 7 RBI and will be expected to improve upon his 2011 stat line: .249/19/65 in a more regular role than he saw in 2011 after seeing sporadic playing time early thanks to the failed Melvin Mora experiment.
The gritty, likable Roberts is a good story, but as an everyday player he is simply average. While he had a career high 18 stolen bases in 2011 and is an above average defender, he won’t hit for a high average and at 31 years old he may have peaked in his development. Teams need guys like Roberts–fan favorites with a team-first mentality–but it won’t help him in these rankings and of the eight players likely to be position starters for the D-backs, Roberts comes in eighth.
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