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  • 12 Questions With... Nate Roberts

    Raise your hand, Minnesota Twins fans, if you knew who Nate Roberts was before the Arizona Fall League. Well, if you follow Twins Daily, you found the outfielder’s name on these pages frequently. But it is fair to say that Roberts gained a lot of respect and notoriety around Twins Territory with his incredible performance with the Peoria Javelinas. He led the Arizona Fall League in Batting Average (.446), On Base Percentage (.565), Slugging Percentage (.662), and of course, OBP (1.226). In 84 plate appearances, he walked 12 times and was hit by seven pitches while striking out just seven times. He stole six bases in eight attempts.



    Anything can happen in the small sample size of the hitter-friendly Arizona Fall League, but the types of skills that Roberts showed are consistent with what he has shown since the Twins drafted him with their 5th round pick in 2010. In 35 Appalachian League games that season, he hit .336/.444/.547 (.991) with ten doubles, a triple, and five homers. Because of knee injuries, he has spent the past two seasons in Beloit. In 2011, he hit .302/.443/.446 (.889) with 12 doubles, four triples and four home runs. In 2012, he hit .299/.433/.427 (.860) with 18 doubles, three triples and four homers. He walked 44 times and struckout 37 times. In the past two seasons, he has been hit by 52 pitches. Roberts epitomizes what it means to be a leadoff hitter. He also grows a fantastic mustache.

    Today, Twins Daily is thrilled to bring you 12 Questions With… Nate Roberts.

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    Twins Daily (TD): Growing up in Illinois, who was your favorite team and who were some of your favorite players?

    Nate Roberts (NR):
    I was a Cubs fan growing up and as a kid my favorite player was Mark Grace. Most recent Cubs that I enjoyed watching were Kerry Wood, Mark Derosa, and Reed Johnson.

    TD: Tell us about your high school career (baseball and/or other extra-curriculars).

    NR: In high school, I played football, basketball, and baseball. Baseball was actually my third favorite of the three, believe it or not.

    TD: What were some of the highlights of your college playing days at various schools, culminating with a tremendous season High Point?

    NR: JUCO was a great time as we won the national championship that year. My year at High Point was also memorable as we worked extremely hard to obtain the first winning record in the Div 1 history of the school.

    TD: The Twins drafted you in the 5th round in 2010... is that about where you were expecting to go, and did you have much communication with Twins scouts before that?

    NR: I was happy to be drafted by the Twins that early because I was expecting to go that soon, so that was cool. I was in contact with the Twins scout, Ricky Taylor, more than anyone else so I was happy to be picked by the Twins.

    TD: You signed quickly and went to Elizabethton. How would you describe your adjustment to pro baseball and what did you learn from that first season?

    NR: It was a good experience to minor league ball, especially the living on the road part. It was a fun transition to playing better competition and the coaches and players there were a lot of fun to be around.

    TD: You have spent the last two seasons in Beloit battling knee injuries, but when you're in the lineup, you are the consummate leadoff hitter, getting on-base over 40% of the time, even if it means getting hit by a ton of pitches. Is that your philosophy as a hitter? (Get on base)

    NR: My philosophy at the plate is to get on in any way I can and to see a lot of pitches. I adopted the HBP mentality at HPU and it continues to work. I also enjoy it too.

    TD: Were you surprised when you heard you were going to the Arizona Fall League? What were your expectations going into that season?

    NR: I was very surprised to be going to the AFL as I was scheduled to be in instructs. So I was grateful for the opportunity. I didn't go in with any high expectation as I was happy to still be playing ball. I just wanted to try and get better, play hard, and have fun. It was a great experience playing there with some good competition.

    TD: Fair to say that things went well for you there as you led the AFL in Batting Average, On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. What were some of the big take-aways for you from your time in Arizona?

    NR: My biggest take away from there is that I competed well against some top players which will help my confidence going into next season.



    TD: Looking to 2013, what are some of your goals? Do you think you'll start in Ft. Myers or jump up to New Britain?

    NR: My number one goal is to play a full season as I have yet to do so. I also want to help my team win a championship as we have come close in the past. I'm not worried about where I'll play next season. The Twins will decide that, and I'll be happy to continue to be a part of their club.

    TD: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career as a baseball player?

    NR: Many coaches throughout my life have been influential, so I can’t just name a few. My parents have definitely been the most help.

    TD: If you weren't playing baseball, what would you be doing (your career of choice)?

    NR: Once I'm done playing, I plan on teaching and coaching high school.

    TD: Favorite baseball movie?

    NR: Favorite baseball movie: For Love of the Game.

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    Thank you very much to Nate Roberts for taking time out of his offseason schedule to answer our questions. We wish him the best in spring training and wherever the 2013 season brings him.
    This article was originally published in blog: 12 Questions With... Nate Roberts started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      How could you not ask him about his facial hair?!?!?
      Its one of the Best in all of Baseball.

      Is there any hope that he tries to convert to a 2B position? Or am I just dreaming.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      How could you not ask him about his facial hair?!?!?
      Its one of the Best in all of Baseball
      I was thinking one of the questions should be "Do they not sell razors anywher in Peoria, AZ?" The 70's called and they'd like their 'stache back.

      I fairly recently retired from the AF, so my knee-jerk reaction is still "that's outa regs." Give me another 5 years and I'll probably agree with you.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      One of my favorite prospects. He's mashed at every single level. Admire the stache greatly. You're dreaming clutter. He's a corner outfielder.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      One of my favorite prospects. He's mashed at every single level. Admire the stache greatly. You're dreaming clutter. He's a corner outfielder.
      I hope you are right. But I don't think he has the power to be a corner guy and he is not fast enough to be a CF. I see him as a 4th OF who can get on base. If he could play 2B he would be a fantastic super utility guy because his on base skills would translate well to a pinch hitter.

      Also, I wouldn't say he mashed at every level. He has done good but not great everywhere except Arizona where he was unreal. He is not all that young for his level so it would get him back on track to be at AA to start the year next year. If Hicks or Arcia start the year on the big league roster it will help move up a level and officially pass a prospect like Morales.

      But I like his answer regarding health. If he stays healthy the whole year he could jump up in some prospect rankings.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I would like to see him with Ortiz and Morales in New Britain. Those three are legitimate prospects and they should be there to compete and be close to knocking on the door. NO more fill in players taking up space, please.
    1. SurroundedByTigers's Avatar
      SurroundedByTigers -
      Trade Willingham now - we need that mustache in left.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I would like to see him with Ortiz and Morales in New Britain. Those three are legitimate prospects and they should be there to compete and be close to knocking on the door. NO more fill in players taking up space, please.
      I agree, we need to see what he can do against higher competition.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Whether he starts there or not, we can all assume that Roberts will spend plenty of time in New Britain this season. he doesn't have to be added to the 40 man roster until after this upcoming season, so in reality, there isn't a huge rush. That said, his plate approach and discipline certainly make him intriguing as yet another outfielder to watch in the system.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Not a big deal Seth but I did a double take when you said his OBP was 1.226
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Ok, I understand sample size and all that but his minor league stats have been very good and if ever you can say someone dominated a league you can say it of Roberts in the Arizona League. By comparison, Hicks has not had that kind of stretch at any point in his development, hit ..286 in his best year which is last year in triple A and hit .202 against the same competiion Roberts was facing in the Arizona League. Do you think if the season had been 150 more games Hicks would outperform Roberts? If so, then case closed. If not then why wouldn't Roberts jump beyond Ft. Myers or New Britain? They were both facing AA and AAA competition and Roberts shined while Hicks did not even after a good and well publicized start.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Again Seth--thanks for this feature--I love it (and the stache). Given the Twins glut of OF prospects I would like to see Roberts get a crack at 2B and 3B at New Britain just to see if he could handle it. It would make him more valuable to the Twins and make the Twins better if he could be an all around utility guy instead of 4th OF.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Can we do another dozen questions with his 'stache?

      Q: "What was it like being on your first porn set?"
      A: "Aw man, it was unreal. There was this one chick...."
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      One of my favorite prospects. He's mashed at every single level. Admire the stache greatly. You're dreaming clutter. He's a corner outfielder.
      I hope you are right. But I don't think he has the power to be a corner guy and he is not fast enough to be a CF. I see him as a 4th OF who can get on base. If he could play 2B he would be a fantastic super utility guy because his on base skills would translate well to a pinch hitter.

      Also, I wouldn't say he mashed at every level. He has done good but not great everywhere except Arizona where he was unreal. He is not all that young for his level so it would get him back on track to be at AA to start the year next year. If Hicks or Arcia start the year on the big league roster it will help move up a level and officially pass a prospect like Morales.

      But I like his answer regarding health. If he stays healthy the whole year he could jump up in some prospect rankings.
      .307/.439/.458 isn't mashing? That's career minor league averages for him. His worst was a .860 OPS. Of course his age is his biggest flaw, but he still was close to the average age of players in Beloit. I personally have him #12 in my prospect rankings. While he doesn't have a ton of power for a corner outfielder, Roberts has a little bit of everything tools wise and we saw a lot of speed last season. Too bad he bats lefty.
    1. shs_59's Avatar
      shs_59 -
      Even if he stays an OF I like him at this point quite a bit better than say...Joe Benson.

      I'd be shocked if Roberts didn't start 2013 in AA New Britian ( I have him as our 4th OF'er for 2015).

      And i think he has a great chance to be a bit more than that....say the David Murphy type of mold.
    1. B Richard's Avatar
      B Richard -
      Glad to see this, sounds like he's a great guy. More importantly, if he can stay healthy it seems like he could be a solid ballplayer. I know it's been commented on, but I also love this guy's stache. Wish I could grow one like that
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      Nate easily has the best mustache in the Twins franchise, I was hoping for a question about it's origin. It seemed to fuel his play down in the AFL. I wonder if it will still be around when he shows up for spring training. I surely hope so.
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