Jimmy Is Good

The news conference yesterday at Citizens Bank Park with Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel lasted 42 glorious minutes, and it pretty much had three themes:

  1. The coaching staff changes, which included Ryne Sandberg‘s arrival as third base coach and as Manuel’s possible replacement.
  2. Amaro’s thoughts on the offseason.
  3. How in the world can the Phillies possibly survive another season with Jimmy Rollins?!?!?!?!?

There were about 5,900 words in the 42-minute transcript. Nearly 1,200 covered Rollins.

Who knew Rollins was 20 percent of this team’s problems?

Listen, I understand Rollins can be frustrating. He doesn’t always hustle, and there’s simply no excuse for it. He popped out in the infield 42 times this season to lead the big leagues. That is painful to watch. He also hit just .250 with a .316 on-base percentage, his lowest OBP since 2009 (.296).

But let’s put Rollins’ season into perspective, shall we?

Here is how he ranked among all shortstops in Major League Baseball:

  • Third in WAR (5.0).
  • Fourth out of 21 qualifying shortstops with a .429 slugging percentage.
  • First in runs (102).
  • Second in home runs (23).
  • Second in doubles (33) and walks (68).
  • Fourth in RBIs (68).
  • Tied for fifth in triples (5).
  • Sixth with a .746 OPS.

Not bad.

I know some folks might not want to hear it, but Rollins was one of the better shortstops in baseball this season, both offensively and defensively. Now, one can make the argument the Phillies would be better served with somebody else hitting leadoff, considering Rollins’ low on-base percentage. (Playing devil’s advocate, Rollins’ superior base running allows him to take advantage of the times he is on base, which might explain his 102 runs scored.) But just because the Phillies don’t have another option at leadoff doesn’t mean Rollins should be pinned as the crux of this team’s offensive problems. He isn’t. But that is how it is portrayed.

“Two months ago, I heard somebody talk about (Michael) Bourn from Atlanta and you know how good he’d be in the leadoff hole, but Jimmy Rollins has more production than Bourn has and things like that,” Manuel said. “What I’m getting at is who
out there in the Major Leagues does any better than Jimmy in the leadoff hole? If you find that guy, mention him to me.”

This team has bigger fish to fry than Rollins. There is Chase Utley‘s health. There is Ryan Howard‘s health. There is the entire outfield (Amaro said yesterday nobody is guaranteed a spot in next season’s outfield). There is third base.

Shortstop is one of the only solid spots in the lineup.

Rollins isn’t a perfect hitter when compared to every other hitter at every other position in baseball. But compare him to other shotstops in baseball and he’s still producing. So focus the ire and frustration elsewhere.

26 Comments

Amen, Zo.

Awesome blog post, Todd!

“What I’m getting at is who out there in the Major Leagues does any better than Jimmy in the leadoff hole? If you find that guy, mention him to me.” — umm, is Charlie serious with this? Is he really saying Jimmy is as good as any other given lead off hitter in MLB? I HAVE to be reading that wrong.

I didn’t check the stats, but after Charlie had a talk with J-roll after nit hustling to first base it seemed to me that he went on a roll,a J-Roll. He hit a lot of homers,seemed to pop up less ,scored runs and overall played like he’s capable of.
He still plays a great ss and has an gun for an arm.

I would like to see the Phills higher ups bring in a guy this spring and reaffirm the strike zone and how to lay off swinging at balls as well as what happens when they swing at balls out of the strike zone. Similar to what Barry Bonds did.

I noticed Jimmy seemed to perform better after his non-hustle incident, when he ended up in Charlie’s dog house.

One thing I’m looking forward to this offseason is not having to hear the endless complaints from Philly fans about Rollins. The guy is a great ball player, a community leader, a giving person, a great ambassador not only for baseball, but for Philadelphia sports, a charismatic and likeable person, and someone that, when their career is complete, will garner a lot of well-deserved attention. In this age its rare to have such a player in one organization for a couple of years let alone for their entire career. It would be a massive mistake to ever let Rollins go, not only on the field abilities, but on a PR level as well. The guy is Phillies baseball for this era. If you don’t see that, wait a few years and look back. It’s there waiting to smack you in the face.

I see that Atlanta’s pathetic fans are acting like hooligans. Since it was a sellout, I have to assume that half of them have never been to a baseball game before.

Manuel said. “What I’m getting at is who
out there in the Major Leagues does any better than Jimmy in the leadoff hole? If you find that guy, mention him to me.”
—–
Nick Markakis.

I guess it depends on what you’re looking for out of a leadoff hitter.
Rollins has hit leadoff in 1,375 games. .273 BA, .332 OB, .448 SLG. 346 doubles, 88 triples, 171 HR and 306 SB.
Markakis has hit leadoff in 54 games. .335 BA, .390 OB, .489 SLG. 15 doubles, 2 triples, 5 HR and 0 SB.
Rollins is a switch hitter, Markakis is a lefty but is 5 years younger.

Ugh. Occasionally, switch off the Phillies and watch other teams. You’ll be surprised at what you will see.

I’m a lifetime Cardinals fan.

I assume Cholly meant, “anyone who is available”. Jimmy has been the heart and soul of this team over their entire incredible run, and we are lucky to have him. Warts and all. I am way more worried about 3rd base and the outfield than Jimmy Rollins.

No, “Cholly” said ‘if you find that guy.’ My thinking is that Cholly wasn’t paying much attention to the AL. Fact is, Showalter struck genius putting Nick in the leadoff spot. Markakis is the heart and soul of that Orioles team too – read what Hardy and Showalter say about him.
And, it doesn’t matter age or batting stance, Markakis was the better leadoff hitter.

is he serrious? give me Broune, trout, Werth, A. Jackson, anyone who gets on base. Rollins’ problem is he is a lousey lead off hitter, and a worse hitter anywhere else in lineup

I have to agree with Todd on this. To make JRoll the center of attention concerning the failings of the Phillies is absurd.

To answer Charlie’s question: Mike Trout. I do agree that Jimmy is the least of the Phil’s problems.

I say the training staff should be the center of blame. Something was wrong with Halladays shoulder since spring training, but not one of them had the cojones to just say he needs to rest it because Halladay is a “warrior” and wanted to pitch (as well as other factors). Forget that nonsense. And Stutes had problems with his shoulder coming out of spring training, but they put him on the roster anyway and had him pitch, then he went on the disabled list and finally had to have surgery (any update on how he’s doing??). And now this offseason, they are going to monitor Utley and his knees every so often. Hey, great, why didn’t you do that last offseason when you knew about the one knee and maybe could have caught the condition with his other knee in time to do the therapy needed on it over the winter (and why weren’t they just doing the therapy on both knees just in case the other knee developed the same problem?). AND Howards achilles surgery typically takes 6-8 months to heal, but there he was, 4 months after surgery, taking ground balls and hitting in spring training. Which was probably a major contributor to the “infection” that developed that slowed his rehab. Then, of course there’s Worley and his bone chips/bone spur. Oh, he’s ok to pitch, even though Worley said it was pain in there and he might need to alter his mechanics to lessen it. Sure, that shouldn’t hurt a young pitcher to alter his mechanics and maybe stress out another part of his arm.
Not to mention all the other hamstring and calf and sports hernias that have affected guys the past 2 or 3 years. I’m surprised Rollins actually lasted to the end of the year before finally succumbing to injury.

/end rant. Phew. I feel a lot better

Very well put, Gregg. I’ve always had an issue with the training staff. But, then again, I would assume they don’t make the final decision.

Good post, Zo… agree 100%. I guess the naysayers want to see him put up numbers like his MVP season every year. I would too, but in the end he is still one of the premier shortstops in the game, and is capable of remaining so for a few more years.

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The naysayers do not necessarily want to see Rollins put up the same numbers as he did in 2007 as much as they want him to put up the numbers of a well rounded player in general or, more specifically, a lead-off hitter. What is at stake now is Rollins legacy. Is it enough for him that he be recognized as the best Phillies shortstop ever or does there need to be more? Whether or not there is more at this stage in Rollins career depends on what his team achieves as much as what he achieves.

Has anybody seen J-Roll on the MLB’s “MLB Tonight” over the last couple of evenings? He’s not too bad. Prepping for a post-baseball career possibly??

I am tired of reading you pundts excuses for major league player playing lousey. They are getting paid millions to play the game. They should just put the Wall Street Journel down and study how, as Major League, the game is suppose to be played.

That was painful to read. I think you should go back to grade school to learn spelling and syntax, then try again. If you are confused, you can Google “syntax”.

I am sorry for the errors. The point is there. I feel sorry for you, that is an example of the comments I would expect when you don’t have anything to say about the point of my comment.

My point is that your comment had no point. it was gibberish. If you are going to present a position on a public forum, please do the rest of us a favor and make a minimum attempt at putting together a cogent sentence with proper syntax and punctuation. Not everybody can win spelling bees, but I assume you studied a little composition when you were a kid.

I’m just trying to do my part in making a better world.

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