The Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual included a section called “Overlooked ex-Padres.” I’d wanted to call attention to four players–Ollie Brown, Mike Ivie, Ruppert Jones, and Bip Roberts–that maybe didn’t get their due in San Diego. The idea was noble, but the execution could have been better.
Since I’ve spent much of the offseason writing player comments for Baseball Prospectus 2015 (#ShamelessPlug), I’m in the mind-set of condensing a man’s contributions to his team into a short paragraph with snappy phrases. In that vein, I thought it might be fun to revisit those players from DS2008 and write capsules for each of their seasons with the Padres.
Roberts, who attended the same high school as Nothing in Common star Tom Hanks, was selected by the Padres in the Rule 5 draft. Unfairly compared to former San Diego speedster Alan Wiggins, the diminutive switch-hitter enjoyed moderate success from the left side of the plate but was useless from the right side. After swiping 90 bags over the previous two seasons in the minors, Roberts was not a threat at the big-league level. Although his 14 steals were second on the Padres, a 54 percent success rate made him a liability. Roberts, whose given name is Leon, hit .378 in September and played a respectable second base, both encouraging. If he hits grounders and refines his running game, he could be more than a guy with a cool nickname.