Phillies Position Analysis: Short-Stop

Previous Analysis: C, 1B, 2B

Opening Day Starter (2003-2008)

     2008 – Jimmy Rollins
     2007 – Jimmy Rollins
     2006 – Jimmy Rollins
     2005 – Jimmy Rollins
     2004 – Jimmy Rollins
     2003 – Jimmy Rollins

2007 Recap

      It’s been fun doing the last 3 position analyses, because the Phillies are currently sporting their best 1B, 2B and SS in team history. If we had a 3B who could stand up straight, I might have been able to write a post arguing we have the best infield in major league history. 
       Before we get (briefly) into the Jimmy Rollins/Matt Holliday MVP debate, I want to point out where Rollins’ season ranks all-time among SS. Last post, I talked about how Utley COULD have had an all-time season, but in this case, Rollins DID.

Single Season Ranks All-Time Among SS

      Extra Base Hits – 2nd
      Triples – 2nd
      Runs – 3rd
      Total Bases – 4th
      Hits – 12th

      As for the MVP, there were many people who thought the Rockies’ Matt Holliday deserved the award. These people are not idiots, but I do disagree with them. Here are my 3 main points.

  1. Unique Season – Showing a rarely seen blend of power, speed and base running, Rollins was the only player in MLB history to have 200 H, 130 R, 30 HR and 40 SB in a season. He, along with Curtis Granderson, became the 2nd and 3rd players to ever have 20 HR, 2B, 3B and SB in a season.
  2. Coors Field – Both Holliday and Rollins played in hitter-friendly parks. When you look at them on an even playing field, the road, their numbers are not that much different. (Rollins’ numbers are on top, Holliday’s on the bottom)

AB

R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
369 70 108 25 9 12 47 28 50 21 5 .293 .352 .507 .859
309 53 93 22 1 11 55 35 68 7 3 .301 .374 .485 .859

          Rollins had 17 more runs, 15 more hits, 10 more extra-base hits, a higher SLG% and the same OPS. The only thing Holliday had him on was RBI, BA and OBP. Holliday’s SLG% on the road was 40th in the NL, behind non-MVP candidates Cliff Floyd, Kelly Johnson, Jayson Werth, Corey Hart, etc etc…

3. Intangibles – Rollins had 94 RBI from the LEAD-OFF position, he won a Gold Glove at a far more important defensive position, was one of the best base runners in the league and both teams finished with pretty much the same record. He also made fewer bad outs, with 41 less strikeouts and 12 less double-play balls (in far more ABs, mind you.)

You can make the case for Holliday, but the right man won.

 What We Need in ’08

          Jimmy Rollins has a way of creating expectations. Last year, after the can’t-miss acquisition of Freddy Garcia, he famously called the Phillies “the team to beat in the NL East.” Turned out he was right – about the 2nd part atleast. This off-season, he has already said that this team will “win 100 games” this year and that the new goal he has set for himself is to become “one of the greatest of all-time.” So for ’08? We just need Jimmy to be as correct in his predictions as he was last year.

SS of the Future? Rollins isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but the best SS prospect in our system is Jason Donald. He hit over .300 with 71 RBI, 31 2B, 8 3B and 12 HR last year in 130 games in A-ball.

NL East SS Rankings

1. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
2. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
3. Jose Reyes, Mets
4. Yunel Escobar, Braves
5. Cristian Guzman, Nationals

Top 3 SS for MLB for ’08

1. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
2. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
3. Derek Jeter, Yankees

Top 3 SS 25 or under for ’08

1. Ramirez, Marlins, 24
2. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, 23
3. Reyes, Mets, 24

Best Season for a Phillies SS: Rollins, 2007 (.296 BA, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 38 2B, 20 3B, 41 SB, .531 SLG %, .875 OPS, Gold Glove, MVP)

Best Season Ever for a SS: Alex Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners, 1996 (.358 BA, 141 Runs, 215 Hits, 54 2B, 36 HR, 123 RBI, 15 SB, .414 OBP, .631 SLG%, 1.045 OPS)

A-Rod might have had better power numbers at short during other seasons, but this one is the best because he did things that at the time, no one had seen a SS, or a 20-year old, do before. This season revolutionized the position and showed that it was possible to be athletic enough to handle the toughest defensive position on the field and still put up great offensive numbers. At age 20, he won the batting title, while scoring more runs, hitting more doubles and accumulating more total bases than anyone in the AL.

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5 Responses

  1. […] post by Pete Bookmark and Share:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  2. […] JM Bell wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOpening Day Starter (2003-2008). 2008 – Jimmy Rollins 2007 – Jimmy Rollins 2006 – Jimmy Rollins 2005 – Jimmy Rollins 2004 – Jimmy Rollins 2003 – Jimmy Rollins. 2007 Recap. It’s been fun doing the last 3 position analysis, … […]

  3. Pete, you flat out crazy.

    First of all Jeter is by far the best SS in the league, putting him at #3 is just plain silly. Even without dragging out the rings, the poise and the leadership consider this. Jeter is by far the best player on a team that is better than the Phils, Rollins is maybe the 2nd or 3rd best player on the Phillies. You’re just being a homer on this one, that’s all.

    Ramirez over Reyes in the NL East? You’d have to convince me with some numbers.

    MVP

    Holliday was the better MVP candidate stressing the V, Rollins was the better player in 2007. Subtract Holliday and the team struggles to win 72 games, subtract Rollins and Phillies win 78 or more. Without a doubt I’d take Rollins over Holliday, but they meant different things to their teams.

  4. The shortstop rankings are for ’08 – not 1996-2007. For all the leadership, intangibles, blah blah blah that Jeter has, they certainly have had a tough time getting to the world series with the highest payroll in the league every year. I think Yankees fans might want to re-sign Paul O’Neil and Scott Brocius.

    As for Ramirez/Reyes. This really isn’t even a debate.
    Ramirez had 6 more runs, 12 more doubles, 17 more HR, 24 more RBI, 52 points higher BA, 141 points higher SLG%. He is also YOUNGER than Reyes. Reyes had more SB and plays in NYC. I could break this out further, but don’t really have the time right now.

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