When April turned to May, I decided to see how some of the newest Yankees did during their first month on the team. OK, so I’m a little behind, but it’s never too late to analyze! Last time, we took a look at Yangervis Solarte, and the impact he’s had on the club. Today, we’ll take a look at another infielder; the ageless wonder, Brian Roberts. OK fine. For real though, he’s been pretty good!
When Robinson Cano skipped town for the love of money, the Yankees needed to replace him. There were no superstars available at second base, so they signed a few at other positions and settled for a puzzle piece type player like Roberts to temporarily hold down the fort at second. Going into the season, the only goal for roberts, who has been decimated by injuries over the past four years, was to stay healthy and play replacement level baseball while the other stars the Yankees signed boosted the offense.
Has Roberts lived up to his end of the bargain so far? It didn’t look good for the first couple of weeks of the season. Through the first 15 games, Roberts had a slash line of .156/.278/.222 in 55 plate appearances. Sure, he was always putting together pesky at bats, fouling off pitches and making pitchers work, but his at bats almost always ended in outs. In fact, he was hitless in 12 of those 15 games. He hat 3 hits on April 2, 1 hit on April 8 and 3 more on April 17. It was brutal, and he looked all but done.
In the 13 games since, however, Roberts has completely turned things around. His slash lines in that time are .340/.389/.440 and even hit a game winning homer against the Angels this past week. He has also stolen 2 bases and scored 10 runs in those contests—a complete turnaround. This is the kind of player Roberts was before he started getting hurt. He was never the type to make opposing pitchers tremble or anything, but he was a solid and pesky hitter who could get on base and score a lot of runs.
Overall, his numbers look like this: .253/.333/.337 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 7 RBI, 4 steals and 15 runs scored. They still don’t look too great, but they’re clearly on the rise. The Yankees couldn’t afford to keep him in the lineup much longer the way he was hitting early, and I’m sure they don’t expect him to hit .340 the rest of the way, but if he can be a little bit better than his numbers look right now (say a .275 average or so the rest of the way), I’m sure they’ll take that in a heartbeat. He has also been good in the field, which wasn’t really a question coming into the season.
I’m hoping he can just stay healthy. If he does, I think he’ll put up that .270 or .275 average and continue to play solid defense. If he can do all of that, the rest of the Yankees’ offense should be able to carry his bat nicely. Good job so far, Brian!
Featured image courtesy of: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports
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