- Full name Christopher William Roberson
- Born 08/23/1979 in Oakland, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 180 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- School Feather River CC
- Debut 05/12/2006
- Drafted in the 9th round (260th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2001.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Roberson gets his tremendous athleticism from his father Will, a former NBA draft pick. After three mediocre pro seasons, Chris finally had a breakthrough in 2004 and proved it wasn't a fluke by repeating his success in 2005. He won the Eastern League's rookie-of-the-year award after leading the league in hits and runs. He also reached career bests in average and homers, because he has improved at identifying pitches he can handle and knowing when to make use of his power. His strikeout rate crept down for the third straight season. He's an above-average runner and got going on the bases again after swiping just 16 bags in 2004. Pushed out of center field by Michael Bourn, Roberson fit nicely in right field. Managers rated his arm the best among EL outfielders. He still must improve some minor things, such as knowing when it's a good time to steal a base and hitting cutoff men more regularly. He continues to flail at hard breaking balls. He's working on learning the different outfield angles after moving from center to right. Roberson is not as instinctive a player as either Greg Golson or Bourn, the outfielders ahead of him on this list. As a 26-year-old, Roberson also doesn't have as high a ceiling as they do. He'll move to Triple-A this year and could return to center field if Shane Victorino sticks in Philadelphia and Bourn remains in Reading. He'd stay in right if either of them are on the Scranton roster and profiles as a fourth outfielder in the long run.
Roberson's athleticism has never been a question. It comes from his father Rick, who played seven seasons in the NBA. He finally turned those skills into production in 2004, a year after the Phillies lauded his potential following a low Class A campaign in which he hit just .234 with a .309 slugging percentage and 108 strikeouts in 132 games. Roberson made as much improvement as any Phillies prospect by cutting down on his swing and making adjustments to better handle breaking balls. He not only trimmed his strikeouts but also ramped up his power while moving into the less forgiving ballparks of the Florida State League, where he was voted an all-star. Once Roberson got going, the confidence boost helped him carry the success through the season--which ended in mid-July following a stress fracture in his right leg. He's more physical than the organization's other center fielders (Greg Golson and Michael Bourn), but doesn't possess their baseball instincts or do things as easily. Still, Roberson's above-average speed and arm strength make him a strong outfielder, but he trimmed his basestealing attempts. He's slated for Double-A this year.
Like his father Rick, who played seven seasons in the NBA, Roberson is athletically gifted. He showed signs of parlaying his tools into performance in 2003, especially in the last three months of the season. He started making contact more consistently, a must for a top-of-the-order hitter with plus speed. He stole an organization-high 59 bases and could have pushed into the 80s had he reached base more frequently. He was thrown out 16 times but is continuing to work on getting jumps and running in the right counts. Roberson's strength could produce 15 home runs per year at the major league level, but hitting instructors are discouraging him from loading up right now, stressing the importance of contact. Defensively, Roberson shows plus-plus range in center field, getting great jumps on balls and running everything down. His arm is fringe average. Roberson is less polished than fellow center fielders Michael Bourn and Javon Moran, both 2003 draftees, but has more room for projection as he's a year younger and didn't play in college. He'll move up to high Class A, staying a level ahead of his competition.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the International League in 2008
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Eastern League in 2005
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Florida State League in 2004