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October 7, 2011 4:43 am

Prospectus Playoff Quickie: Enter Tatman


Daniel Rathman

Tattoo afficionado Ryan Roberts has helped to spark the Diamondbacks' lineup this season.

When Ryan Roberts came to bat with the bases loaded, two outs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers leading by three in the 10th inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ penultimate game of the regular season, the energy at Chase Field was high, even though the stakes were low. The NL West crown had long been clinched, and home-field advantage in the NLDS was only possible for the Diamondbacks if the Brewers lost their game the next day. Yet Roberts’ grand slam—which capped an historic six-run rally that began with two outs, nobody on, and a win-probability of one in a thousand—put a cherry on top of a remarkable regular season that would have seemed incomplete without it.

Arizona inked Roberts as a minor-league free agent in November 2008, after he spent five years in the Toronto Blue Jays’ farm system and another in Triple-A for the Texas Rangers. An 18th-round pick out of University of Texas-Arlington in 2003, Roberts was never regarded as a top prospect, and instead emerged as a sleeper with the potential to be an above-average hitter and play multiple positions. Still, the Jays and Rangers were only able to serve Roberts brief cups of coffee between 2006-2008, during which he went 2-for-27 with 12 strikeouts.

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