PBN Awards: Reading Player and Pitcher of the Year

Chris Rojas

Chris Roberson and Chris Rojas both came into 2005 looking to make significant moves for themselves. Both put together great seasons in leading a surging Reading club out of what was a horrible season and gaining some respectability for the club.

Reading Phillies Player of the Year

Chris Roberson put up a huge season at AA Reading, winning both the Eastern League Rookie of the Year Award and the Phillies' Paul Owens Award as the best position player in the Phillies' minor league system for 2005. The 26 year old center field prospect started to get noticed last season when he posted strong numbers at Clearwater, but missed some time with a broken leg late in the season. Roberson went to the Arizona Fall League and quickly showed that the injury hadn't slowed him much either literally or figuratively. Roberson provided further proof of his healing this season when he set a franchise record for hits with 172.

The Phillies made an interesting move of placing Michael Bourn - another center field prospect - on the same roster with Roberson at Reading. Bourn was skipped over Clearwater and while the focus was on whether or not Bourn could handle the jump, it also presented Roberson with a direct challenge. The younger Bourn was regarded as the guy who would be the ultimate answer to the Phillies center field position, with Roberson being a nice player, but a guy that would ultimately have to step aside for Bourn. Roberson responded to the challenge with awesome numbers and as mentioned, the post-season numbers are starting to flood in for Roberson.

There was some speculation that Roberson would get a September call-up. That didn't happen and with the presence of Shane Victorino and the numbers that he put up at AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre, it's likely that Roberson will have a tough time making the jump to the majors next spring. Instead, he'll likely take over for Victorino at Scranton if the Phillies keep Victorino on their major league roster. It remains to be seen whether Bourn will get another promotion and join Roberson or if he'll have the center field job to himself.

Chris Roberson's career stats

Year / Team HR RBI AVG G AB R H 2B 3B SB BB KO OBP
2001 GCL 0 13 .248 38 133 17 33 8 1 6 16 30 .333
2002 Batavia 2 24 .276 62 214 29 59 8 3 17 26 51 .377
2003 Lakewood 2 32 .234 132 470 64 110 19 5 59 57 108 .331
2004 Clearwater 9 38 .307 83 313 52 96 13 6 16 27 71 .371
2005 Reading 15 70 .311 139 553 90 172 24 8 34 40 112 .365
Career 28 177 .279 454 1683 252 470 72 23 132 166 372 .347

Reading Phillies Pitcher of the Year

To say the least, Chris Rojas battled through some tough times in 2005. In April, he took to the mound just days after his Mother passed away. Rojas had taken a couple of days away from the team to be with his family and returned to pitch, knowing that right after the game, he would be leaving again to attend his Mother's funeral. It showed guts and commitment and the fact that Rojas not only returned to the team for that start, but found the courage to pitch well through the rest of the season speaks volumes about his ability and character. Then, late in the season, Rojas wound up on the DL. Two starts in a row, Rojas had tightness in his forearm and exited early before winding up on the DL. At this point, nobody is quite sure how Rojas will respond in 2006, but it appears that he should be okay physically.

At 28, Rojas knows that he can't face many more delays. He made an emergency start at AAA Scranton and pitched well, but was right back at Reading after the start. Besides his one start at AAA in 2005, Rojas has pitched just 11 1/3 innings at AAA when he was in the Padres organization in 2004. If he's healthy, he should be starting the 2006 season with Scranton as a main part of their rotation.

It figures that Rojas will be a bottom of the rotation pitcher at best in the majors. He could even wind up as a long reliever. In 2005, Rojas seemingly threw well enough that he should get some consideration and won't need to return to independent baseball as he did earlier in his career.

Chris Rojas' career stats

Year / Team W L ERA SV G GS IP H R ER BB KO HR
1998 Canton (IND) 4 4 6.65 0 25 0 44.2 43 41 33 31 33 4
1999 Williamsport (A) 5 7 4.87 0 15 15 81.1 72 57 44 43 85 4
2000 Idaho Falls (R) 1 0 5.00 0 2 2 9.0 8 5 5 4 13 0
2000 Ft.Wayne (A) 5 4 2.72 0 15 15 79.1 64 26 24 38 69 4
2001 Lake Elsinore (A) 10 5 3.43 0 28 28 160.0 135 72 61 71 149 14
2002 Mobile (AA) 6 8 5.19 0 25 24 126.2 125 81 73 74 80 10
2003 Mobile (AA) 5 10 4.27 0 32 19 109.2 94 62 52 53 92 6
2004 Mobile (AA) 7 5 3.31 0 19 19 103.1 88 46 38 46 77 11
2004 Portland (AAA) 1 2 12.71 0 6 2 11.1 19 22 16 9 5 6
2005 Reading 12 6 3.92 0 22 22 131.0 126 62 57 36 107 17
2005 Scranton 0 1 3.86 0 1 1 7.0 6 4 3 2 4 1
Career 56 52 4.23 0 190 147 863.1 780 478 406 407 714 77

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