Player (P)Review: Jimmy Rollins


Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Rollins

Key 2013 Stats:

In 160 games: .252/.318/.348; 6 HR; BAbip: .287; 22 SB; SO%: 14.0; ISO: .097

What happened in 2013:

In 2013, Jimmy Rollins’s stat line looked mostly similar to his 2012 numbers. BA and OBP only differed by .002 each, total number of doubles and triples was the same (38), he stole 20+ bases in both seasons, BB% was exactly the same (8.9%) and SO% was virtually unchanged (14.0% vs. 13.7%).

Aside from the fact that he hasn’t had a strong OBP since 2008, it looks like a pretty normal, above average season from Jimmy Rollins. That is, until you notice the inexplicable total drain of HR power from his bat. Rollins hit home runs in 666 PAs last season.

That’s 1 every 111 PAs. For perspective, he hit 8 in an injury shortened 88-game stint in 2010.  For a league average shortstop, this lack of power wouldn’t be a huge problem – defense and base-running are more of the position’s calling card anyway, but his power is what makes Rollins a standout at the position.

In the past, Jimmy Rollins has been a rare, true 5-tool player. Above average fielding, running, arm strength, hitting ability, AND power is what has made him the dynamic player he’s known to be.

However, the past two seasons he’s hit at a roughly league-average rate, and his power suddenly disappeared in 2013.

Fangraphs still liked him to the tune of 1.6 fWAR, so Rollins had close to an everyday starter-level campaign. However, in 2012 he was a 4.8 fWAR player (borderline all-star level), so you can’t help but be disappointed.

What to expect in 2014:

Rollins’ power drain was inexplicable in 2013. He appeared healthy for the entirety of the season, and I have a hard time connecting an 80 point drop in SLG% just to one year of aging. I imagine he’ll rebound, maybe not to 2012 power levels, but probably end up in the 15 HR area.

In a normal, 160 game Jimmy Rollins season, I’ll expect everything else to stay pat and see him end up with an fWAR around 3.0.

The issue, however, is that management seems to want to move him badly. His contract isn’t the albatross that others are on the roster, but he is still expensive, and teams with a need at SS would probably offer something of value in return.

In a season without high expectations, steps like that towards rebuilding would be seen as a positive move by most fans. Rollins, however, has a full no-trade clause and seems determined to enforce it.

He’s indicated that there are a few team records he wants to own before he considers anything other than being a Phillie, and although its unclear what they are specifically, reaching 200 HR (1 away) and taking the all-time hits record (59 behind some third baseman) by July could relieve some of that feeling.

So, basically, in 2014 fans will probably get a typical, above-average season out of Jimmy over a full year. His power should rebound and the rest of his stats should remain fairly stagnant.

However, if he can be convinced, it may be in the best interest of the team (depending on the return) to move him at the deadline.

Realistically, I imagine Jimmy will play out his contract in Philly. As much as he’s been a face of the franchise, however, that’s probably not the optimal situation for the future of the club.