Jimmy Rollins Player Projection No. 77

Key Stats: Jimmy Rollins has been ranked in the top 90 five out of the last six years. Only Hanley Ramirez has been a more steady force at that position during that time. Rollins has averaged 18 home runs, 96 runs scored, 70 RBI, 34 steals, and a .271 average during that time. He’s also managed to stay healthy over that time with almost 4,000 plate appearances during that stretch. In three out of the six seasons he led the NL in plate appearances.

Skeptics Say: You can play with the numbers in so many ways. Over the last two years, Rollins has only made just over 1,000 plate appearances and missed 96 games. And last year he had the motivation of a contract to play for. This year he’ll be 33 and could be heading down in a number of categories especially steals.

Peer Comparison: It’s interesting to see where Rollins is going in mock drafts versus where he’s heading in the minds of experts from CBS and ESPN. He’s the sixth shortstop being taken at MDC, but he’s being taken much earlier overall than he is with Cockcroft who has him as the fifth best shortstop.

I’ll deal first with the issue of where Rollins ranks among the shortstop position. Cockcroft has Rollins ranked ahead of Starlin Castro while CBS has him ranked ahead of Elvis Andrus. I agree with the folks on MDC who are taking Andrus and Castro ahead of Rollins. The reasons are simple. Andrus and Castro haven’t peaked yet at ages 24 and 22 respectively while Rollins is past his prime. And also, the two players were actually ranked ahead of Rollins last season.

Next there’s the issue of position scarcity. People are in a panic to get shortstops. MDC has 11 shortstops going in the top 118 picks. They have seven shortstops going in the top 67 picks. That is too early on both ends. To me it makes players like Emilio Bonifacio, Jhonny Peralta, and Dee Gordon more appealing. All are going around pick number 150 and can give you a large fraction of what Rollins brings to the table about 90 picks earlier (according to their rankings).

Lineup Outlook: This was touched on the other day in the Shane Victorino profile, but the Phillies offense is old. Assuming that the team’s 1-2-3-4 combo is Rollins, Victorino, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard, the average age is 32.5 years old. And that’s looking past Placido Polanco who is 36 now. They are close to the point that the Celtics are at now in the NBA – their window will be closed for a championship chance probably by 2013.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #5 Shortstop; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #5 Shortstop & #63 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #6 Shortstop & #58 ADP; RotoChamp: #97 Overall

Projection: The steals will start to drop this season and the games played will continue to be a problem.

89 R 14 HR 68 RBI 25 SB .273 AVG .340 OBP .728 OPS in 618 plate appearances