Heath at Dempsey’s Army provides a rundown of Roberts’ outstanding August production while Peter Schmuck discusses Roberts’ value to the team and the factors that limited his performance earlier this season leading to the aforementioned accusations.
I’m still focused on Roberts’ ability to hit doubles, which leaves him at second base on offense nearly as often as when he’s in the field.
Two weeks ago I wrote about Roberts’ doubles production in the context of Orioles history. Now I’m grudgingly acknowledging that baseball is played in places outside Baltimore and considering the bigger picture.
Craig Biggio is the all-time leader for doubles by a second baseman. Among his 3,060 career hits, Biggio had 668 doubles, which ranks fifth overall among all players.
Roberts has less than half as many career doubles as Biggio, but his performance in the category to this point produces some intriguing comparisons.
Roberts has 310 doubles through age 31 – 1,099 games and counting.
Biggio had 282 doubles through age 31 – 1,379 games.
Roberts is leading the league in doubles for the second time in his nine-year career (Dustin Pedroia, who finished with 54 doubles to Roberts’ 51 last season, is currently eight doubles behind Roberts).
Biggio led the league in doubles three times in his 20-year career.
Roberts is in the midst of his fifth season with 40 or more doubles and will likely eclipse 50 doubles for the third time in his career while also passing his Orioles record of 51 doubles.
Biggio had seven seasons with 40 or more doubles but only twice hit more than 50 doubles (51 in 1998, 56 in 1999).
Any player would be lucky to match Biggio’s longevity in the game much less his continued production for most of those years.
Nevertheless, it’s interesting to note that Roberts has had some of his best years for doubles (42, 51, and currently 48) at ages 29 through 31 while Biggio’s best years came at ages 32 and 33 (51 and 56 doubles, respectively).
More importantly, Biggio managed three straight seasons of more than 40 doubles at ages 37 through 39. Age doesn’t necessarily produce a decline in the category for second basemen.
Brian Roberts still has a long way to go before his overall career numbers can fairly be compared to those of Craig Biggio, a Hall of Fame candidate. Again, longevity is the key. (Baseball Reference lists Biggio among players similar to Roberts through age 30.)
However, Roberts’ ability to hit doubles thus far compares favorably to the all-time leader in the category among second basemen.