The Phillies’ hot young prospect, Jimmy Rollins, has really caught new manager Ryne Sandberg’s eye.
With enough work, Sandberg believes Rollins could even become a big league lead-off hitter.
"“I’ve had conversations with him, but also, I think it’s my role to let him know what I expect of him and what I think he can do and what I think the team can do. For me, that’s staying on top of the ball and utilizing speed. ”—Ryne Sandberg via Todd Zolecki"
Aug 12, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) hits an RBI single in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Sandberg has wasted no time establishing his strategy for this ball club after Charlie Manuel’s departure. And that strategy is to use the raw talents of the players to get on base more than the other team, as this is the most successful method of scoring runs. Rollins’ part in all of this, as a potential lead-off hitter, is to get on base and whip out that threatening speed that isn’t what it used to be. “A challenge, Sandberg calls it.
Jimmy talked as if he was open to Sandberg’s requests, acknowledging his likelihood to hit fly balls and pop-ups by getting under the ball instead of over it. He also credited opposing defenses for playing him a bit more strategically and taking away his doubles total for the season.
But, like any conversation with a Phillie, this one devolved into talk of the future and just how in the hell this team is going to compete in the future with all of those players we thought would be traded still on the team. Jimmy said that “all you can do is lead” and hope the pieces around them are open to it.
Was “all you can do is lead” a subtle request to be the full-time leadoff hitter, even when Ben Revere returns next year? As someone looking for drama to stir up at the end of a blog post, I can say that yes, it definitely was.