With the news of Brian Roberts hip surgery ending his season, were left to wonder how much he can keep trying to come back from injury and how effective he can be. His last full season was 2009, so were also left to consider his career.
Roberts put together a six-year run when he was as productive a second baseman as youd want for your major-league team. From 2004 to 2009, he twice led the league in doubles (50 and 56) and once in stolen bases (50). He scored over 100 runs four times. His on-base percentage was .377 or higher three times. He was twice an All-Star. He was a reliable and occasionally spectacular fielder.
At baseball-reference.com, using the similarity factor statistical analysis, Roberts is rated most like Orlando Hudson, the much-traveled O-Dog. Is Roberts profile as high nationally? Probably not. Maybe if everybody called him B-Dog.
How about where Roberts ranks among all-time Orioles second basemen? Davey Johnson had a run of similar length in Baltimore and won three Gold Gloves. His offensive numbers are lower not nearly as many runs, doubles and no season with an OBP above .360. However, Johnsons years as an Oriole, 1965 to 1972, were during an era of stronger pitching.
Bobby Grich had five full seasons with the Orioles, 1972 to 1976 (he spent a chunk of that first year as a shortstop). He won four Gold Gloves and had three seasons with an OBP of .373 or higher and scored over 90 runs twice. Grich showed a bit more home run power every season with at least 12 homers, while Roberts had three seasons under that number in his full years.
So who are you taking? Does Roberts get an edge because he played for losing teams while Johnson and Grich played for winners? Or do they get credit for helping make those Orioles into winners?
One thing, though: If Roberts had been healthy the past three seasons, this would be a different discussion.