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The Dip: Roll Call

Posted by The Dipsy, Mon, March 15, 2010 07:13 AM | Comments: 87
Posts, The Dip

#11 Jimmy Rollins Takes off for second

Dave Bancroft, Travis Jackson, Bobby Wallace, and John Ward. No, this is not a list of NASCAR drivers. It is a list of men who have played shortstop in the major leagues and have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Suffice it to say, these guys don’t evoke the grandeur and prestige (tongue firmly in cheek) of that hallowed institution. This is one important reason why Jimmy Rollins, if he continues at pace for another 3-5 years, will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not only that, but he has a chance at being considered one of the greatest shortstops of all time.

Sure, maybe I’m not giving the above-mentioned individuals enough credit, but if they were really that great, I would have at least heard of them before I actually looked at the list of actual Hall of Fame shortstops. I am one of those guys that really don’t take baseball before Babe Ruth that seriously. Further, I don’t really consider the truly “modern era” of baseball to have begun until Jackie Robinson broke in. Even so, as it pertains to this discussion, I cannot dispute that Honus Wagner was just incredible and stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. With the way he hit, he could have been a butcher in the field and it wouldn’t have mattered.

The shortstops in the Hall can be sorted into groups.

  1. The guys that played when dinosaurs roamed the earth: Bancroft, Jackson, Wallace, Ward, Hughie Jennings, Rabbit Maranville, and Joe Tinker (check his stats when you get a chance).
  2. Guys who got in mostly through their association with great teams: Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Loe Boudreau
  3. The truly deserving: Joe Cronin, Arky Vaughn, Luke Appling, Robin Yount
  4. The truly great: Wagner, Luis Aparicio, Cal Ripken, Jr., Ernie Banks, and Ozzie Smith

Now you have some context. Jimmy Rollins, during is first ten seasons in the league, has led the league in AB’s and triples four times, won three Gold Gloves (the beginning of a string I suspect), won one MVP and one World Series. He has averaged out of the lead-off spot, 660 AB’s (wow), 105 runs (wow again), and 36 stolen bases while hitting .274. There is no better defensive shortstop in the game. If this caliber of play continues it would take him right over the “truly deserving” category and into the “truly great”.

Of the shortstops currently in the Hall I would take three – and only three – before Jimmy: Honus Wagner, Ozzie Smith, and Luis Aparicio. Aparicio, was a World Series winner, 10 time all-star, 9 time Gold Glove winner, and led the AL in steals 9 straight years (bet you didn’t know that). He was the first state of the art modern day shortstop and an incredible fielder. Ernie Banks only played half his career at shortstop, and if not for that, he would be there with the other three. If you compare Ripken and Jimmy, I’ll take Jimmy’s total offensive game over Ripken’s power. In the field, Cal would catch any ball he could get his hands on, and so can Jimmy. The difference is that Jimmy gets his hands on more balls.

Yes, the roster of Hall of Fame shortstops is not reflective of superior offensive prowess, with shortstop being a defense-first position. Jimmy has more years left to play and hopefully another World Series or two to win. He is a phenomenal two way player who’s biggest sin is not walking more. While Phillies fans tend to be more agog these days over Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, let this little write up serve as a reminder of how good we’ve got it at shortstop. We may actually be in the presence of greatness. Jimmy Rollins is that good.

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The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 derekcarstairs

    Chuck – I agree with you that this is a topic to re-visit in 5 years.

    By then, we should have a better idea if Howard has a good shot at 500-600 HRs. HRs will be his ticket to the HOF.

    By then, we should also judge better how Utley stacks up with other second basemen like Morgan, Sandberg and Kent. If he compares favorably with those three, Utley will get in (He actually may need 6 or 7 years to be the career leader in HRs for a second basemen.).

    In Rollins’ case, I think he needs either great career numbers in a number of categories, which he can achieve in 5 years or so, or 3,000 hits, which will take a few years longer. 3,000 hits is probably still a credential for automatic entry into the HOF. Otherwise, JRoll’s career numbers will be compared with those of other shortstops.

    We will also have to wait 4 or 5 years before we can make a sound judgment about Halladay’s HOF credentials.

     
  • Posts: 0 Badfinger

    Carlton Fisk and Ryne Sandberg are not only almost 20% better offensively respective to era, they’re also better offensively straight up. Those guys are not a good comparison to Rollins because they weren’t defensive players at their position, they were offensive. Sandberg had a year where he hit 40 home runs, Fisk had almost 400 for his career. Those are superlative numbers for C and 2B in the 70s and 80s.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Rollins would need 4 or 5 MVP caliber years to get even be in earshot of great career numbers in the non-power categories.

    The power numbers are going to have to be re-addressed for the Hall, Adam Dunn’s gonna have 500 homers and it will be a joke if he gets in. Andruw Jones, Giambi could conceivably be near, Delgado will be over 500, likely Vlad and maybe guys like Konerko and Carlos Lee… Vlad’s really the only one that has a right when you have so many guys being passed over. Don’t get how writers/analysts can say it’s all about winning and performing in October and not even really consider Bernie Williams.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Jimmy could easily play his way into the hall… he doesn’t have to play outside of himself; just be consistent over the next 5-8 years and he’ll definitely have a spot. MVP, multiple gold gloves, silver slugger… at SS, defense plays more of a role than any other position (except maybe catcher). Jimmy doesn’t need 3000 hits. Play defense, continue to hit the ball hard and he could go down as one of the better ones.

    At this point, I can’t see how you could project him ahead of Cal, though… Cal is the epitome of consistency. Plus, when you look at Cal’s longevity and body of work, there really is no comparison. His power numbers, 2 MVP’s, 1 ROY, 8 SS, 19 consecutive all-star appearances. Almost 100% first-ballot…

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    For HRs…..600 will (and should) be the new 500……if you’re looking mainly at HRs as a bench mark for getting in.

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    The steroid era really screwed up HR totals, so even if guys like Bonds and Mcgwire never make the Hall, legit guys like Thome and Howard are still going to have their totals compared to the steroid guys.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    One dimensional players also screwed up the HR totals.

    The thing is you need to look at Jimmy’s stats and what he can realistically total up in the next 5-6 years, his raw numbers aren’t as impressive as how he has been perceived, he’ll have to put up very good years to be in earshot of those numbers that will put him in consideration as his skills regress. He has less hits and steals than Juan Pierre and an OPS only .48pts higher than the guy considered to be a mockery by the saebermetrists. I’d love to see him in the running for the hall but really do think he’s going to have to go a long way to be in real contention and will need to get very high on the list for doubles and triples to boost the other areas.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    The Original Chuck – Thank you. Shortstops are lousy hitters in general. Jimmy is averaging 105 runs over a his first 9 big league seasons. Are you kidding? Look at the other SSs in MLB. Are you kidding me? My point is that Jimmy is now reaching the point in his career where he has played long enough and well enough to start the conversation. Does he have to do more? Of course he does. Why doesn’t someone compare his offensive numbers to the SSs that are in the Hall?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Shortstops USED TO BE lousy hitters….in the days of Mark Belanger who got away with it enough because he was so good at defense.

    But guys like Ripken, Jeter, A-Rod, others….changed that…to where now it’s almost EXPECTED that shortstops do well offensively.

    And, no…..he hasn’t “reached the point in his career where he has played long to start the conversation.”

     
  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Rollins is a run machine, great fielder, charismatic player who is a leader and solid hitter. If he gets on base more, he scores more runs. All he needs to do is improve his on-base-percentage and bunt more to do this. He is exciting and we are really lucky to have such a great shortstop. I remember Desi Relaford, Bobby Wine and Kim Baptiste. Jimmy , after another five years of success, has a defintite chance of making the Hall.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brett

    There will always be a debate over what constitutes greatness. Jim Rice is a fine example of a player who was good over a long period of time, but there is still a question over whether or not that makes him “great”.

    Ozzie Smith was better defensively, but Rollins has been a more productive hitter over time. Rollins doesn’t produce like Hanley Ramirez, but his glove is far slicker. If over the rest of his career, he continues to be a well rounded player, and his numbers stay where they were in 2005 or 2007, Jimmy has a solid shot to reach the Hall.

    I wonder about Jamie Moyer as well. If he continues to win games, he’ll keep moving himself up the all-time wins list. Does that make him a Hall of Fame player? Obviously he doesn’t have the same raw “stuff” as obvious Hall of Fame Players, but if all the players ahead of him are in the Hall, and some of the players behind him are in the Hall, is it fair for him not to be?

     
  • Posts: 0 R.C. Cowie

    Steve Jeltz would be appalled by this article. How can he not be considered the greatest Phillies shortstop, moreover; the greatest shortstop in the history of Earth. We wouldn’t name a game day award after any schulb of a player, like Richie Ashburn.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    I think as The Dipsy alluded to – that voting for the HOF prior to Jackie Robinson was questionable at best. There are characters in the HOF with lifetime Batting averages hoovering near the .250 mark, no power to speak of, no rings to display – you have to wonder how these people got in. Don’t forget, during the time they played, how many people got to watch them? Read about their heroics or hear about them?
    Different world back then. I would be interested to see who actually did the voting and what was the basis of their decisions.
    Anyone have an update on Poly’s injury?
    ANOTHER sweet outing by our ace Halladay – he finally gave up a run which inflated his ERA to .090 for the Spring. Herndon and Durbin have not given up a run, still.
    This is great stuff. Howard had 2 more hits today – as long as he is making contact, we know the power will show for this notoriously slow starter. this is tremendous stuff. Go Phils!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    This from Polanco….

    “It’s nothing bad. No DL situation or anything. It’s probably day to day. Now that the doctor took a look at it, it’s nothing big at all….It’s getting better now already after the icing an all that.”

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    See, Dip, you and I can actually agree on something…

    I will say that you are crazy for not taking Cal over Jimmy, though… projecting forward (and if he stays on track… big IF), I would say that he ends up top 10 PURE modern-day shortstops of all-time when he retires. Wagner, Jeter, Ripken, Vizquel, Smith, Aparicio, Tejada, Rollins, Renteria…

    Glad to hear that about Polly…

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    But not necessarily in that order, correct OC?

    ME:

    Wagner, Jeter, Aparicio, Ozzie, Larkin, Ripken, J-Ro, Tejada.

    And a shout out to my favorite fantasy player of all time, the late, great, SS – Howard Johnson. 30-30 out of the SS position is pretty sweet (not a pure SS, tho.)

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 PhxPhilly

    I agree that Rollins can be considered for HOF. The background is sufficient, but he needs to be a Top5 offensive SS each year for the next 5 with a GG each season.
    Larkin was a great player and Rollins will have the benefit of being on Championship caliber teams to get extra publicity. Having some big-time post season’s and some highlight game winning plays in the World Series would certainly help.
    After his season last year, I would not project him to keep up his offense enough and will be overshadowed by Utley.
    And if Rollins moves to 3B it better be in about 10 years because he will need to get in primarily on defense and longevity at SS.

     
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  • Posts: 0 Alex B.

    I don’t comment here much, but I have to say I think you’re underrating Cal a whole lot.

    His bat doesn’t look that great compared to, say, Jeter, but you have to remember that the first half of his career was played in the much more pitcher-friendly years of the ’80s. And he still is a better hitter than Rollins by any measure. Stolen bases are the only category in which Rollins beats Ripken. If nothing else, compare their career OPS+: 112 vs. 97. So Ripken was an above-average hitter for his career, including his waning years, while Rollins has been a slightly below-average hitter and hasn’t started declining yet (we hope).

    And Cal’s defense was sorely underrated. For example:

    Fielding Runs Above Average (TotalZone) per 1,250 innings at SS:

    Mark Belanger: 18.6
    Ozzie Smith: 13.1
    Cal Ripken, Jr.: 10.4
    Omar Vizquel: 7.1
    Jimmy Rollins: 4.2
    Alex Rodriguez: 2.0
    Miguel Tejada: -4.5
    Derek Jeter: -7.7

    (taken from Baseball-Reference)

    Heck, you can even look at Range Factor. Cal got to more balls than Jimmy does: 4.73 per 9 innings, compared to Jimmy’s 4.26.

    I think J-Roll is fantastic, and none of this is intended as a slight against him. But I feel the need to point out just how great Ripken was, especially since he played on a declining Baltimore club for most of his career, and his skill was largely overshadowed by the streak.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Cal Ripken – Great player. Home run hitting SS. Rollins has Ripken beat in SB and Runs…by a ton. Shortstop is traditionally a light hitting position where guys can probably run reasonable well. Ripken and Rollins are two different players. You want a table setter, you take Rollins. More of an RBI guy – Ripken. Vanilla. Chocolate. I give Cal his due.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 DFFD

    Has him beat in runs by a ton???

    “Runs: Ripken 1647 vs. Rollins 1890*”

    that’s if you take his current total and double it – which seems pretty unlikely. so I might take issue with that.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Thats a ton.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 DFFD

    Ummm actually it’s 15% percent and it’s not even a projection. It’s an ABSURD estimation based on simply doubling his current production. How often have little speedy guys maintained their production into their mid and late-30s????

     
  • Posts: 0 Badfinger

    Why do you keep citing runs as a sign of how good Jimmy is? He has 146 career home runs, which means that they are the only ones you can attribute directly to him. Every other run, no matter if it’s a stolen base, wild pitch, sac fly or Ryan Howard bomb has a source outside of Jimmy Rollins’ bat. He scored 100 runs last year because he limped his way on base in front of possibly the best NL offense of the decade. If he batted 6th or 7th he’d have had 100 RBI instead of 100 runs.

    If I wanted a table setter, I wouldn’t pick Jimmy. He bats lead off because he’s a short, fast dude and not because he’s a good lead off hitter. Moving him out of the lead off spot would be addition by subtraction and addition- put Vic, Werth, Ruiz, God I’d love to see Utley as a 1 hole hitter, ANYONE in the lead off spot who can get on base, and put Rollins further down in the order where his developing power works more to the team’s advantage.

     
  • Posts: 0 DFFD

    Just to keep the runs debate going Rollins just finished his age 30 season with 945 runs. Ripken had 970 runs following his age 30 season. So…

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    You give “Cal his due”….

    But the fact remains….Cal at age 30 was a legitimate LOCK for the Hall

    Rollins at age 30 is not.

    ——-

    On another note, Scott Eyre apparentely has not ruled out pitching. Go to http://www.mlbtraderumors and read comments. Interesting……..

     
  • Posts: 0 Yankee Fan, Phillies Phriend

    Scooter as a HoFer shortstop “mostly because of [his] association with [a] great team”? Seriously?

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rizzuph01.shtml

     
  • Posts: 0 deebo

    dip,

    i need the name of your dealer. it’s obviously top shelf stuff. forget 3000 hits. he’d have to start until he’s 40. or 43. ain’t gonna happen. bowa had like 2500 and, until omar vizquel came along, THE best fielding percentage at SS for his career. i don’t think he sniffed making the ballot a second time. rollins will forever be plagued by his OBP and the fact that his career was bracketed by the likes of a-rod, nomar, jeter, vizquel, tejada in front and ramirez, tulowitzki and maybe reyes behind.

    cripes, even richie ashburn, who couldn’t crack the lyrics of “talkin’ baseball,” needed to be voted in by the veteran’s committee because he had the misfortune of competing against mays and mantle (and the duke).

    BTW, utley hasn’t put up biggio numbers yet, let alone jeff kent’s. howard has half the stats of pujols and 1/3 of the mvp awards and anyone that thinks hamels gets in better start with the argument that carlton went 13-20 in 1973.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Deebo, as I said, if you are able to extrapolate Rollins’ numbers out, he is a better candidate that all those players you mentioned save A-Rod and Jeter. Vizquel is not going in and neither is Tejada. Thats just the way it is.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Vizquel has a chance.

    Tejada…..no.

     
  • Posts: 0 Duffie_D

    Jimmy Rollins is the premier defensive shortstop of this generation, and underrated in that regard IMO. He has deserved more Gold Gloves than he has earned.

    However, he does not pass the most important test for Hall-of-Famers, and that one is this: when people watch him play, do they think “I’m watching a Hall-of-Famer?” I believe it is likely that most people do not think they are.

    Also, there is only one of these players I would put in the “Truly Great” category, and that is Honus Wagner. All those other guys either had one severe deficiency or played only half their career at shortstop.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Ozzie not a Hall of Famer? Hmmmmmm.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 DFFD

    “Jimmy Rollins is the premier defensive shortstop of this generation, and underrated in that regard IMO. He has deserved more Gold Gloves than he has earned.”

    Really???? See below. If he’s underrated defensively then what the hell is Cal (who absolutely destroys Rollins offensively)???

    Fielding Runs Above Average (TotalZone) per 1,250 innings at SS:

    Mark Belanger: 18.6
    Ozzie Smith: 13.1
    Cal Ripken, Jr.: 10.4
    Omar Vizquel: 7.1
    Jimmy Rollins: 4.2
    Alex Rodriguez: 2.0
    Miguel Tejada: -4.5
    Derek Jeter: -7.7

    (taken from Baseball-Reference)

    Heck, you can even look at Range Factor. Cal got to more balls than Jimmy does: 4.73 per 9 innings, compared to Jimmy’s 4.26.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Really? How many runs did Cal average per season? SB? BA? Gimme a break. He hit more home runs and had more RBI’s. I’ll take Jimmy. And please stop running that stat cuz we’re sick of seeing it. OK, Belanger’s the best. So what’s your point? What a bullsh@t stat that is.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 DFFD

    So basically what you’re saying is that you’ll take Rollins over Ripken not based on his actual performance on the field (which is OBVIOUSLY inferior and really not even in the same ballpark), but based on your personal fondness for him and apparent inability to understand baseball statistics. Glad we’re all clear. You’d prefer a worse player. Good deal.

    I really don’t know why I’m continuing this, but the point of that statistic is that Ripken was MUCH better defensively than Rollins. Then when you look at basically every offensive stat other than SBs it’s quite clear that Ripken blows Rollins away entirely. Even in runs (which you keep bringing up even though you don’t seem to understand what the stat even means) Ripken had more through his age 30 season than Rollins does. What was your point about BA???? Ripken – 276 and Rollins – 274. And that’s including the 10 additional years that Ripken played – do you really think if Rollins plays for 10 more years his career average is going to go UP???? Your argument is really laughable. He not only hit more HRs and had more RBI – he did every single thing on the baseball field better than Rollins with the exception of SBs and triples. Rollins has a career OPS+ of 97 – that’s not good and will only get worse as he ages. Compare that to Ripken’s OPS+ of 112 – it’s really not rocket science here. Through Rollins’ age 30 season, he had exactly one season with an OPS+ over 110 (and it was only 119). Through Ripken’s age 30 season he had 8 seasons with an OPS+ over 110 (including a 144, 145, and 162!!!).

    Get a clue and stop making yourself look so ignorant on the internet. If you want to say you like the guy more because he’s cooler or you like his style or whatever that’s fine, but don’t try to make the laughable argument that he’s better when it’s totally clear that he’s not even close.

     
  • Posts: 0 DFFD

    That’s what I thought. No explanation for your completely absurd statements.

     
  • Posts: 0 Catch 22 f/k/a H Man

    In looking at the bigger picture, I don’t think you can just look at HOF players as a comparison. You also need to look at players that are currently playing or were great but have not made the HOF.

    To me, there is absolutely no question that, with current players, Jeter is better. Jeter is among the true greats (and, no, I’m not a Yankees fan – I detest the Yankees – but his greatness is indisputable). Hanley Ramirez is just starting out, so it’s hard to guage, but he’s in another stratosphere in terms of offensive ability – he’s entirely off the charts, unless a former shortstop named Alex Rodriguez is on your chart. That guy Rodriguez played a hell of a long time as a SS (9 seasons – we lose track of how long he’s been a major league player) and he is and was a better player than Ernie Banks, which is saying something. You’ve also got Omar Vizquel (did he retire?) – who is a traditional shortstop who might go in – he’s a great player in the field, but I don’t view him as being as good as Rollins on the whole.

    As for guys not in the HOF – where’s Barry Larkin? Sorry to bring this up Phils fans, but he was a better player than Rollins. Maybe not by a huge margin, but, truthfully, he was better. So, I hope and believe Rollins should go in, but it may not happen or, if it does happen, it may take a long time and there’s probably no way that Rollins goes in if Larkin does not as I think most people share my view as to who was the better player (although, admittedly, Rollins still writing his resume).

     
 
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