Sean Roby, 3B
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2018, 12th Round
LAST LEVEL: Double-A
GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #22 Overall, #2 Third Baseman
2022 Performance: Sean Roby had a record setting season, and yet an injury-riddled season as well. It took ten seasons for the Richmond Flying Squirrels to have a 20-home run hitter, set by David Villar in the 2021 season. Sean Roby broke the record in 2021…and broke it by July 4th (on the day of Villar’s MLB debut, no less). But Roby suffered an injury on July 18th, the first of four injured list stints over two months, with one ankle injury coming on the day of his reinstatement from his third on September 13th.
Roby finished the season with a career-low .219 batting average and .286 on-base percentage, but a career-high (and new Richmond record) 25 home runs. Roby also had a career-high in strikeouts with 140. But he didn’t have a big platoon split, as though he hit a little better against left-handed pitchers, it wasn’t a significant split.
Defensively, he split his time at the corners in the infield, playing 57 games at third base and 21 games at first, and even his first pro game at second base. He struggled a bit, with 13 errors at third, for just a .904 fielding percentage from the hot corner.
Strengths and Weaknesses: His strength is obviously his strength. Roby may possess the best raw power in the system, and he has an All-Star Home Run derby title from the Short-A level to prove it. He showed it in games with 19 in 2021, and bested it in 2022, even at a level known for limiting power, which is impressive.
Unfortunately, the rest of his game is not as strong. His ability to hit for average is a big question, and his striking out has gotten worse as he’s progressed up the system. That could limit Roby’s ability to put his prodigious power into games going forward. He lacks secondary offensive skills, with struggles at taking walks and very little speed on the basepaths. His defense is also not great, as he can be passable at best at third base. He can handle first as well, and is good at receiving throws.
2023 Outlook: Although the power was prodigious, Roby’s poor hitting for average and defense and limited time due to injuries will likely lead to him starting 2023 in Richmond again with chances to get up to Triple-A midseason.
Future Profile: As great as his power is, Roby’s hitting struggles will likely keep him from being an everyday player. However, he could find a role as a power-hitting corner infield bench player, splitting time at both positions when needed.