Roberto Rafael Vaz III
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 9", Weight 190 lb.
Roberto Vaz was a minor league outfielder, peaking at AAA.
Vaz won a national title as a junior college in 1996. Transferring to Alabama in 1997, he hit .400 with 9 triples, 22 home runs, 14 steals, 87 runs and 73 RBI in 255 AB. He led the Southeastern Conference in runs (tied with Eric Hinske) and triples and was 4th in average. He also was 4-1 with 8 saves and a 3.40 ERA. He joined Tim Hudson, Ryan Lundquist and Jeremy Jackson as the All-SEC outfielders. He tied Hinske for 14th in NCAA Division I in hits, was 12th in total bases (203, between Jeff Guiel and Jeremy Morris), tied for third in triples (2 behind Bubba Crosby and Adam Neubart) and tied for 25th in home runs. The American Baseball Coaches Association named him a first-team All-American alongside Guiel, J.D. Drew and Mike Marchiano in the outfield while Baseball America picked him third-team, going with Drew, Morris and Brad Wilkerson on the first-team. He missed the 1997 College World Series after surgery for a broken bone in his right foot; missing their top hitter and closer, Alabama lost in the finale to Louisiana State University.
The Oakland Athletics took Vaz in the 7th round of the 1997 amateur draft, one round after fellow SEC two-way threat Hudson and one round before Adam Piatt. He did very well that summer with the Southern Oregon Timberjacks (.321/.379/.513 in 22 G) and Visalia Oaks (.356/.420/.548 in 19 G). By 1998, he was in AA for a full year with the Huntsville Stars, batting .295/.369/.409 with only 23 steals in 39 tries. In his lone pitching appearance as a pro, he allowed one run in one inning. He was 4th in the Southern League in times caught stealing. With the Bayamon Cowboys in 1998-1999, he hit .302, 11th in the Puerto Rican League in average; he won Rookie of the Year honors.
Roberto split the summer if 1999 between the Midland RockHounds (.406/.500/.594, 12 RBI in 10 G) and Vancouver Canadians (.264/.355/.392 in 109 G). The little outfielder backed up Mario Encarnacion in RF and Eric Byrnes in LF for the 2000 Sacramento RiverCats, with only Bo Porter playing more games overall among Sacramento outfielders. Vaz hit .289/.362/.425 with 72 RBI and 20 steals in 26 tries, fielded .985 and had 10 assists. He saw limited action for the 2001 Modesto A's (.294/.377/.383 in 48 G, 19 SB, 2 CS). In 2002, he bounced between three Texas Rangers affiliates: the GCL Rangers (1 for 3, BB), Port Charlotte Rangers (1 for 4, 2B, BB) and Tulsa Drillers (.241/.330/.410 in 24 G) and he also got into 6 games for the Mexican League's Piratas de Campeche (3 for 19, 3 BB). He was 0 for 14 with two walks for the 2003 Frisco RoughRiders to end his playing career.
Overall, Roberto had batted .286/.366/.415 with 35 home runs, 77 steals in 117 tries, 224 runs and 249 RBI in 494 minor league games.