Second Base, Backup
413/457/870 62 RC 10.9 WS
Well, he certainly is deserving. He has actually slightly outperformed Al starting 2B Placido Polanco who has registered a nifty 57 Run Created, so far. His rate stats are higher than every AL second baseman except for BJ Upton, who has an insane .457 BA/BIP. For those who are fantasy inclined . . . wait for Upton to get healthy and sell. So, we have an All-Star second baseman . . . will he continue. His RC and WS are about to eclipse last year's totals, illustrating how severe his forearm injury was 20-some months ago.
The player we see in Roberts now is not the burgeoning fringe power hitter we saw in 2005. That year he just hit the ball hard with a heavy 10% HR/Outfield Fly ratio. Last year, he was at 5.6% and this year even lower, perhaps understanding that his value is now woven into contact hitting and patience. Roberts' 2007 BA/BIP is .363 . . . which is pretty high. Just looking at that, I would be inclined to say he is due for a dropoff in batting average just because of luck. Digging in a bit more, we find that his LD% is a high 22.2%. Now, line drives have a decent correlation to batting average to the tune of about LD% + 12%. The deviation from that is something the baseball stats community has yet to figure out. Anyway, add that up and you get .344 . . . so he should see a downturn of about 20%, which is not much.
It should also be mentioned that this hitting skill is not what is really making Roberts valuable. He has increased his plate patience as well. Last year, he had 55 walks . . . this year, if he keeps his rate, he'll be near 90. That is remarkable. He has never shown such a degree of patience. Add that to his league average defense . . . you have a pretty special player.
My Predicted Line: