Roberts aims for big league
JOSH Roberts is in the form of his life and if he keeps it up, a professional contract overseas might not be far off.
The Brisbane Bandits have just split the four match home series with Roberts getting two RBIs (runs batted in) during his team’s 6-1 win at the RNA Showground on Monday night.
It saw them leap ahead of Canberra at the bottom of the table but followed a four game series in Melbourne in which the Bandits couldn’t steal a win.
“I’m having a good time, facing some pretty good players,” Roberts said.
“Hopefully we can squeeze our way into the play-offs.
“If we do, anything can happen.
“We’ve got the team to do it.”
Brisbane’s biggest problem has been inconsistency, which Roberts puts down to the youth and inexperience of the Bandits line-up.
“We’re a pretty young side,” he said.
“Our pitching is holding up but we haven’t been scoring a lot of runs.”
Roberts has been the exception.
The Ipswich slugger is now fifth in the Australian Baseball League (ABL) hitting standings with an average of .340 (34 hits per 100 at bats).
“I’m having an okay season at the moment, hopefully I can continue it,” Roberts said.
“I’m taking a good approach to the plate, swinging hard and looking for my pitches.”
Training up to six days a week and being part of a professional set up has helped Roberts discover his top hitting form.
“I’m better prepared and a bit older and wiser,” he said.
“Working hard with more batting practice (has made a difference). I’ve had plenty of time to work on my swing.”
It may seem to the casual observer a baseball batter just swings at the ball, hoping for a hit.
But if he can’t anticipate what the pitcher is about to throw, there is little chance of success.
“It’s just thinking what they’re trying to do to you,” Roberts said.
“You’re trying to be one step ahead of the pitcher. You haven’t got much chance up there just swinging away.”
If he continues in the same form there is a chance Roberts may be offered a professional contract overseas. Last week Melbourne pitchers Adam Bright and Travis Blackley signed contracts with Japanese and Korean clubs respectively while Ipswich product Chris Oxspring, who pitches for the Sydney Heat and leads the competition for strike outs, has been picked up by the Detroit Tigers.
If he was offered a similar contract Roberts would take little persuading to accept.
“You want to play at the highest level you can,” he said.
“Anywhere you can play baseball for a living is fun.”
“Hopefully there is someone there at the right time watching.”
The Bandits have 12 matches to play, eight of which are against Canberra, starting in the nation’s capital on Sunday. That will be followed by four games against Adelaide in Adelaide.