Mar. 4, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Ryan Roberts (14) looks on as the game is delayed due to a swarm of bees on the field during a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Roberts Still Relatively an Unknown

While he quickly became a fan favorite for the Diamondbacks in 2011, 31 year old Ryan Roberts was on a personal quest to prove that he belonged in the major leagues–and he’s hoping he finally found his permanent home.

There’s no doubt that Ryan Roberts is a feel good story.  Before coming to the Diamondbacks in 2009–already in the middle of his baseball prime at 28 years old–Roberts had just 27 at bats in the major leagues, striking out 12 times and getting just 2 hits in those appearances.  After

signing a minor league deal with the D-Backs before the 2009 season, Roberts made an opening day roster for the first time in his career playing semi-regularly in a utility role.  However, after stumbling in spring training 2010, he failed to make the opening day roster then and made just 71 plate appearances with Arizona late that season.

Already 30, Roberts continued to persevere than calling it a career.  He spent nearly all of 2010 in the minors, but made the opening day roster again in 2011 and replaced the aging Melvin Mora before too long.  Since then third base has been all his.  Roberts has shown good enough ability to be awarded the third base spot for keeps.  However, whether or not Roberts will succeed is something that remains to be seen.  2011 was his breakout season but his overall numbers weren’t eye-opening: .249 avg/19 hr/65 RBI.  Given his up and down baseball career, there’s little guarantee that Roberts can even reproduce those numbers and he’ll have to improve on those figures to become and asset in the lineup.  If he doesn’t, the Diamondbacks might target a player to replace him at the deadline in July.

Going into 2012 the third base job will be his to lose for the first time in his career.  No longer just a feel good story, it’s now up to Roberts to prove that he belongs in the lineup for good.  I’m not sure whether or not he’s the long term answer third, but I’m certain that he’ll give it his best shot.

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