Draft Day Dilemma: How Should We Value Jimmy Rollins?

It wasn’t long ago that Jimmy Rollins was in the discussion regarding the elite shortstops in the league.  What a difference a few seasons can make.

Obviously, we all know that Rollins is no slouch, especially at a position that is not one of the deepest in baseball.  In our most recent rankings (click here to view) I ranked him fifth, but the real question is if that is a viable spot for him?  Should he be ranked a little bit higher?  Should I back him down a couple of spots?

To answer those questions we first need to look at the numbers he posted in 2010:

350 At Bats
.243 Batting Average (85 Hits)
8 Home Runs
41 RBI
48 Runs
17 Stolen Bases
.320 On Base Percentage
.374 Slugging Percentage
.246 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Rollins 2010 campaign was marred by starts and stops with only two months (July & August) with at least 100 AB.  Injuries to his calf and hamstring cost him time, both of which are concerning considering his legs are the key to his fantasy value.

I know he hit 30 HR in 2007, but he had never really shown that potential before (outside of maybe his 25 HR campaign in ’06) and hasn’t shown it since.  If he can stay healthy could he return to the 20 HR plateau?  Most likely, but that’s the type of number we should expect.

For a player who brings speed to the table Rollins also has never brought an impressive BABIP to the table.  Obviously we all know that his ’10 mark is something we can expect improvement on, but don’t look for a number in the .320+ range. 

For his career he has a .290 BABIP and has never posted a number better than .309.  It’s a little surprising considering that he used to routinely bring 40+ stolen bases to the table, but his track record is long enough that by now we need to accept him for what he is.  He’s just not likely to hit close to .300.  We are looking at a .275ish hitter and nothing more.

So, we know that the power is not what he showed in ’07 and his average is modest, at best.  What about his speed and run potential?  The stolen bases are extremely hard to predict at this point.  When healthy in ’09 he stole 31 in 39 attempts.  Now two years older (32-years old) and coming off a year that saw him suffer multiple injuries to his legs, can we really expect him to return to his glory days?

I think he could return to 30 SB, maybe a few more than that, but going into the year expecting him to reach 40+ is a stretch.  In fact, would anyone be surprised if he fell short of 30? 

The runs are going to be dependent on where he hits in the lineup and how the guys behind him produce.  Yes, he is likely to be the leadoff hitter so that is not a concern (though if he struggles he easily could be dropped to the six hole).  The problem is, do we think that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley can also rebound from “down” years?  It’s a fairly safe assumption and one would think Rollins would at least approach 100 runs with a good chance to eclipse it, but he’s not going to be in the neighborhood of his career high (139).

It certainly would seem that we should be cautious when we draft Jimmy Rollins in 2011.  I’m not trying to say that he’s a bad option, because he certainly has the upside to be one of the better options in the league.  Unfortunately, three years removed from what was easily his career year, he’s unlikely to approach some people’s lofty expectations.

He has become injury prone (less than 140 games in two of the past three years) and somewhat of a shell of what he was.  At a shallow position it’s still more than enough, but keep your expectations in check.  I would probably target him around the sixth round of your draft and avoid reaching for him based on position.

What are your thoughts of Rollins?  Is he a player you would target?  What type of numbers are you expecting from him?

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Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:

 

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3 Responses to Draft Day Dilemma: How Should We Value Jimmy Rollins?

  1. TY says:

    i wouldnt waste my pick on him, too risky. This year you take, Hanley, TULO, or reyes or you ship it and wait….

  2. Kyle Johansen says:

    i don’t know, as a sixth rounder i would take a flier. but i agree that at his current ADP it’s not worth the risk.

  3. E-Z says:

    I think Rollins has been drafted on name and position scarcity for a couple of years now. I’m not sure which round I would pick him, because he’s never going to fall far enough for that. I’d bet that he’ll go in the 4th round of half of all drafts and be gone by the end of the 5th in nearly all the rest. When you look at the sort of guy you could draft in those slots why would you go near Rollins?

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