Consistency The Key For Roberson

As is the life of a minor leaguer, Chris Roberson was unable to even remember the name of the place he currently lives. "I don't even know where I live," he pondered, "Where do I live?" So goes the life of a guy making his way through the Phillies minor league system, and for the most part making a very good impression. The key for Chris Roberson this season is simple enough. "My biggest goal is consistency, both on the field and at the plate."

Consistency is a favorite topic for Phillies fans right now, and for Roberson it is the thing he must focus on in his first season with the Reading Phillies. Not that it has been an issue in the past. In 2003 at Lakewood, he stole 59 bases, the most for any Phillies minor leaguer since Jeremy Kendall in 1994.Despite the centerfielder's injury (a stress fracture in his left leg) last year playing in Clearwater, he experienced his career best season; a .307 average, nine homeruns and thirty eight RBI. The righthander also went on a twenty three game hitting streak, to tie for the longest in the Florida State League.

He is looking to continue that success, saying his expectation of himself is to "Hopefully finish above .300. I'm feeling all right now...I'm ready to play." But, he added with a humble attitude, "I can always improve."

His off-season was really no off-season at all. He took a month and a half off to do what he calls, "Very, very intense rehab," before heading to play in the Arizona Fall League. He did well in the AFL, hitting .269. The grueling rehab to prepare was, "Stretching, working out hard, stretching again. I was up everyday at six a.m." He explained that it was all about restoring one of his most well known skills, his speed. "I worked on my speed...I had to get it back."

When he went to the AFL he was as curious as anyone to know what he was capable of after the injury. "I had to see if my skill was still there."

Roberson was a ninth round pick for the Phillies in July of 2001, drafted out of Feather River College and made his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. While there he hit .347 in seven games in the month of June, and finished the year with a .248 average. He admits he had a rough time once he was at the pro level. "It's harder to be consistent at the pro level. The guys throw harder...they throw that change up really good." He grew up in Oakland, California and his father is Will Roberson, who formerly played for the Detroit Pistons.

Interestingly there is a situation going on in the Reading Phillies club, similar to one with the big club Phillies where the outfield is concerned.

Roberson and assumed future Phillies centerfielder Michael Bourn, are both vying for time in centerfield. Bourn had an outstanding season playing for Lakewood in 2004, hitting .317 with 53 RBI under his belt to finish the season.

While Roberson is a great athlete, the left-handed hitting Bourn was voted the fifth best prospect in the Phillies organization by Baseball America last year. There is much discussion about a "rivalry", but Roberson seemed unwilling to justify the rumors. "It's all about putting the best out there. It's all up to "Swish" (Manager Steve Swisher) and the organization." And although there just might be some competition between the two he says "I think it's friendly competition. He can play. I can play too. We'll just have to see."

Roberson's goal? "Just play hard and hopefully make it to the big leagues." He seems tough enough to handle the inevitable ups and downs that baseball brings, where guys compete for jobs and face unpredictable challenges...now if only he could just figure out where he lives.


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