Appreciating Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins is so cool he wears shades on his shades.
Image Credit – Danny Wild – danny-wild.com

As much as I adore Philly sports and the majority of our fanbase, I have to admit that our rotten eggs are a terribly annoying bunch. Negadelphians. I usually find it pretty easy to tune out this angry, misinformed, imperceptive bunch but lately the Negadelphian discourse has focused on one player more unjustly than most.

Jimmy Rollins has two narratives in this town. For most people with eyes and brains, he’s seen as the heart of the Phillies. Still great at defense and hitting pretty well despite his advancing age.

To others, Jimmy is a lazy player, whose occasional tendency to pop out laugh in the dugout jog to 1st base is cancerous to the team and competitive spirit. He should have been replaced in the offseason, or he should have been traded at the deadline. To people who see Rollins like this, I can best respond with the table below.

(MLB shortstops in 2012, min. 400 plate appearances, ranked from highest SLG to lowest).

Rk             Player  SLG  PA Age  Tm Lg   G  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB  SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS   BA  OBP  OPS
1         Ian Desmond .516 494  26 WSN NL 116 467 66 137 31  2 23  68 24 100   2  0  1  15 17  6 .293 .330 .846
2         Derek Jeter .443 670  38 NYY AL 145 621 93 200 30  0 15  55 39  82   5  4  1  21  9  4 .322 .366 .809
3          Jose Reyes .438 666  29 MIA NL 148 598 81 172 35 11 11  56 58  51   0  5  5  10 35 10 .288 .348 .786
4       Jimmy Rollins .437 653  33 PHI NL 146 593 93 150 33  5 22  63 55  91   0  2  3   9 30  5 .253 .315 .752
5      Starlin Castro .427 637  22 CHC NL 149 597 73 169 25 11 13  76 31  94   4  0  5  11 25 13 .283 .320 .747
6         Erick Aybar .421 517  28 LAA AL 131 484 61 143 30  5  7  42 20  54   5  5  2  11 17  4 .295 .329 .750
7    Asdrubal Cabrera .420 574  26 CLE AL 133 517 63 139 31  1 15  59 50  92   5  0  2  15  8  4 .269 .338 .758
8         Zack Cozart .402 560  26 CIN NL 127 523 70 127 32  3 15  32 29 103   3  2  3  10  4  0 .243 .285 .686
9      Jhonny Peralta .399 534  30 DET AL 137 484 53 120 31  3 12  60 45  95   2  1  2  18  1  1 .248 .313 .712
10         J.J. Hardy .394 656  29 BAL AL 145 609 77 144 29  2 21  66 36  97   3  6  2  19  0  0 .236 .282 .676

Data provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

Jimmy Rollins is one of the 5 best shortstops in all of baseball. Let’s break this down.

Jimmy’s Ranks:
OPS: 5th
HR: 2nd
RBI: 4th
Hits: 4th
2B: 2nd
3B: T3rd
BB: 2nd
SB: 2nd

Some icing on the cake. Jimmy is the only one on this list to ground out into a double play fewer than 10 times. He also has successfully stolen a base on 85.7% of his attempts, the highest success rate on this list by a fair margin.

It’s pretty clear that people who complain about Jimmy’s performance have no sense of perspective. There simply aren’t that many power-hitting middle infielders in the MLB, and the Phillies have been blessed to have one of the best on their team for his entire career. If it wasn’t for Cole Hamels or Carlos Ruiz, Rollins would be the team MVP this year for certain. Hell, I think he deserves a vote or two for NL MVP.

Ultimately, it’s clear that Rollins is the best solution for the Phillies for now and the near future, because production like this cannot just be replaced.

Posted on September 20, 2012, in Hank Mushinski, Phillies, Posts, Stats Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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