Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Does Jimmy Rollins Have Anything Left?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As we entered 2014 there was little expected of Jimmy Rollins. However he quickly quieted his doubters, posting the following line:

538 At Bats
.243 Batting Average (131 Hits)
17 Home Runs
55 RBI
78 Runs
28 Stolen Bases
.323 On Base Percentage
.394 Slugging Percentage
.269 Batting Average on Balls in Play

He will be 36-years old entering the season, so now we have to ask ourselves once again if there is anything left.

It’s easy to say that Rollins is a .250ish hitter at this point in his career. In fact he’s been at .252 or worse in five of his past six seasons. It’s surprising, as a player with speed, but there’s little to argue against. We can talk about the low BABIP or solid strikeout rate or any other statistic, but results for this long speak for themselves. Going into the season expecting anything different would be a huge mistake.

While Rollins did steal bases last season, he spent the bulk of his time hitting in the second spot (456 AB). That likely will be his spot once again and you have to wonder if it will keep him glued to first base a little but more often. As it is his age and low batting average keeps us from imagining a 30+ SB season. Maybe in the 25ish range? It’s solid, but not a “must own” number.

It’s also possible that hitting second, as well as the low average, hurts his ability to score runs. While we wouldn’t expect him to give himself up very often, Rollins has topped 80 runs three times in the past seven seasons as it is…

Then there’s the power, which suddenly returned. Of course, the bulk of it came courtesy of one big month (7 HR in July) as he didn’t top 3 HR in any other month. While his overall 9.6% HR/FB seems reasonable, it’s hard to get excited about given one clearly bloated mark.

So we have no average, questionable power and the potential to see a regression in his speed? We certainly aren’t painting a pretty picture.

Sure Rollins has upside, but he’s not a player I would be counting on as my starting shortstop at this point. As a bench option, or maybe a middle infielder, that’s fine but don’t invest too heavily.

Source – Fangraphs


  1. Jack says:

    I also would say that Rollins is running out of gas, especially as a 36 year old shortstop. I was incredibly surprised at the numbers he put up this year, especially the 28 stolen bases. It will be hard to say how he will do next year, but clearly we cannot count him out. Like drafting most other players, we’ll have to see what his ADP is and who is left on the board, thought it would be hard to take him before the middle teen rounds.

  2. Evan says:

    That Phillies lineup also leaves a lot to be desired, where knocking Rollins in depends heavily on his batting average as well as the health/consistency of Utley and Howard. Unless Maikel Franco lights it up or they get a solid free agent bat or two, it’s hard to depend on Rollins to either get help or carry the offense on his own at age 36.

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Evan – I would be surprised if the Phillies didn’t change things up a bit, but that remains to be seen.

    Jack – Agreed 100%. To me he’s more of a low-end option as a middle infielder given the risk. I wouldn’t trust him as a starter, which means late teens is the earliest I’d consider him

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