DOB:November 9, 1984
The Twins picked up Brandon Roberts in the Kyle Lohse trade, and would make his Fort Myers Miracle debut in the Florida State League All-Star Game. A speedy outfielder, Roberts flourished after coming over to the Twins organization, and seems poised to begin the 2007 season as a member of the New Britain Rock Cats. A good top of the order hitter, Roberts has the potential to be a major player in the Twins future.
Roberts was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh round of the 2005 draft out of Cal Poly, and was originally assigned to Billings of the Pioneer League. The young outfielder would go on to bat over .300 in his first season of professional baseball, appearing in 68 games. Of his 87 hits, 19 of them went for extra-bases, and he swiped 32 bags. His showing in the Pioneer League prompted the Reds to make him one of the top prospects in their system.
Roberts would go on to the Florida State League in 2006, beginning the season with Sarasota. In 60 games, Roberts batted .267, earning a spot in the Florida State League All-Star Game. He stole 23 bags, collected 60 hits, and scored 40 times. The Reds would trade Roberts to the Twins in exchange for Kyle Lohse.
Once with the Fort Myers Miracle, Roberts' season took off. He batted .316 in 71 games, earning a spot as one of the catalysts in the Miracle lineup. He stole 27 bags, giving him 50 for the season, and finished the year with 156 hits. He has speed to burn, and ended the year with 80 runs scored.
During Spring Training, TwinCitiesDugout.com got to see Roberts live in action, and came away very impressed. He is a great bunter, has tremendous speed, and looks to be a guy who will be a table-setter with the Rock Cats in 2007.
Batting and Power: Roberts does not have great power, though he is a guy who could be a .300 hitter on any level. He beats out a lot of infield hits, though he needs to work on his patience at the plate. He does not walk enough to be a top leadoff hitting prospects, but if he can work on that aspect of his game, then he should become just that. He does have gap power, and has the speed to turn a single into a triple if the ball is misplayed in the outfield.
Baserunning and Speed: Roberts is a top base runner, and can rack up the stolen bases in bunches. He swiped 50 bags during the 2006 season, giving him over 80 in 199 career minor league games. He is very pesky when he gets on the bases, and can give a pitcher fits once he gets on first base. He is very smart on the bases as well, and knows when to turn a double into a triple. He has top speed, and a broken left foot in instructs has not seemed to slow him down. Look for him to be a top stolen base guy in the Eastern League in 2007.
Defense:Roberts is a good defender, but like any young professional, he does have some work to do. He has great speed, that allows him to get to balls that most other outfielders cannot get to. He does not have a rocket for an arm, but it is a serviceable arm. He could develop into a top centerfield prospect, but there is a guy named Denard Span that is currently the future for the Twins there. If he can show more power numbers, then Roberts could be the Twins future left-fielder.
ETA. 2008. Roberts will likely have a big year in 2007, as he is finally used to playing in an organization like the Minnesota Twins. I look for him to be a top offensive producer for the New Britain Rock Cats, and though the Rochester outfield is loaded, he could see some time in the International League in 2007 as well. If not, he will be a starter for the Red Wings in 2008, and with the way the Twins look for the future in left-field, Roberts could be in Minnesota by the end of the 2008 season, making his Major League debut at the age of 24.