Roberson's Star Continues To Rise

Chris Roberson has had a career change that is nearly amazing. The young outfielder put together a 23 game hitting streak earlier in the season and went hitless in just one game before he started another streak. For his latest piece of magic, Roberson made himself the brightest star of the Florida State League All-Star Game. For a kid with marginal numbers up to this season, Roberson is putting it all together.

Chris Roberson came into the 2004 season with just a .247 average through his first three professional seasons. His claim to fame, and the one thing that really kept him on the Phillies radar, were his 59 stolen bases last season at Lakewood. Still, Roberson had hit just .234 for the BlueClaws with a .331 OBP. There were a lot of scouts talking about Roberson's speed and the fact that if he could just learn to get on base, he would become a true prospect.

Now, with the 2004 season in full swing, Roberson has reinvented himself. While he leads Clearwater in stolen bases with 13, he is getting recognition for more than just his speed. Roberson is first, and foremost, a hitter. Roberson is hitting .317 with a .382 OBP. Many of the scouts that thought Roberson would become more dangerous on the bases if he upped his offensive numbers are a little surprised that Roberson hasn't swiped more bases. Still, they see that the 24 year old has put it all together and is quickly becoming a rising star in the Phillies organization.

Roberson and teammate Jake Blalock were the Clearwater representatives for the FLS All-Star Game over the weekend. The West - thanks to Roberson - picked up a 4-1 win in the contest. Roberson went 3-4 with two doubles and played a big part of the four run second inning that led the West to the victory.

It will be interesting to see what the Phillies do with Roberson. Since he is not on the 40 man roster, Roberson would be subjected to the Rule 5 Draft this coming December, unless the Phillies find a spot for him among their 40 players. With Roberson's emergence, it will be interesting to see what other teams may do if Roberson is available.

Technically, Roberson was available last season, but wasn't selected. His minor league numbers up to that point weren't impressive enough for someone to take a shot at keeping him in the majors for an entire season. This December though, it could be much different. Many scouts believe Roberson could be playing at AA right now. It's very possible that the Phillies could move Roberson along to Reading, but the outfield situation there is a little crowded. If a team believes that Roberson has enough raw talent, they could think that a jump to a supproting role in the majors wouldn't be that far out of the question.

With the Phillies organization being somewhat low on position players, Roberson's emergence has been well noticed. It's not out of the question that Roberson will find his way onto the 40 man roster this fall, but the Phillies are going to have a number of players to make decisions on.

After going unnoticed and bordering on being a disappointment, Roberson is well on the way to showing that he was simply one of those players that progress a little slower than some. The Phillies took Roberson in the ninth round of the 2001 Draft out of tiny Feather River College. The fact that Roberson didn't see a lot of top flight competition is one of the likely reasons for his slow progression. Whatever the reason, the Phillies are just glad that he is finally on the right road and putting all of his talents together.

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