The Arizona Diamondbacks Ryan Roberts is hard to categorize as a player. Since he is able to play basically every position in the infield and the outfield and is the team's third catcher, it is easy to just call him a utility player. However, he happens to play almost everyday, so calling him simply a utility player doesn't seem right because of the image that those guys have -- players that don't play much and stick around because of fringe skills.
That's not Roberts.
He is batting .263 this season with 13 homeruns and 13 stolen bases, which right now projects to a 22/22 season. He gets on base a lot, as noted with a .349 OBP and is hitting .355 in July.
After hitting a two-run homer on Monday against the Brewers, manager Kirk Gibson said Roberts "is good and he's a knucklehead, too" that reminds him of himself. It would have to be the style of play that Roberts gives, as you know "you're going to get an good, honest, all-out effort every night" from him.
Gibson is a big fan of versatility and Roberts gives him that. "His bat is fast," said Gibby, "and I can use him pretty much anywhere in the lineup," in addition to his ability to
play pretty much anywhere is a great strength and why he is getting so much playing time. The D-Backs TV broadcast team make it a point to say that it seems that Roberts is in the middle of every rally they have.
Gibson noted that before the All-Star break Roberts was a little tired, which would explain why his production tailed off a little bit. His production since returning seems to support that. Robert, though, won't say that. He just described it has "a struggle before the break," but that the time off "obviously helped."
As the Diamondbacks move forward, there has been talk about upgrading at third base in particular, yet there has been no real talk of it happening. That has to do a lot with Roberts. I appears that the team believes in Roberts as a viable option for the position now and the near future.
If he keeps producing the way he has, this fan favorite just might find himself in the lineup for several years. It isn't too far fetched, especially when his manager is reminded of himself. He may never be a star, but he certainly looks like a guy that will contribute well for seasons to come.