Monday, December 19, 2011

Sorry, But Rollins Is Not Hall Bound


Jimmy Rollins is not currently a Hall of Fame player.

At the end of his newly signed contract, he will not be a Hall of Fame player.

His only hope of the Hall? Play eight more years and get to 3000 hits.* Here’s why.

[*His only chance based on personal achievement, that is. The Phillies could win three more World Championships he could ride the coat tails of that success into a Hall appointment.]

The Hall of Fame is for the exceptionally great players. While Jimmy Rollins has been good, and while he had one great MVP season, he’s been nowhere close to great.

Consider his awards to date. He’s made only three All Star games, won only three Gold Gloves  and won just a single Silver Slugger award. Compared to other contemporary shortstops*, he is certainly not a standout. Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada, Edgar Renteria, Omar Vizquel and Jose Reyes have made more All Star games, and Hanley Ramirez has already made three trips to the mid-Summer classic. Tejada, Ramirez, Renteria and Tory Tulowitzki have more Silver Slugger awards. Vizquel has 11 Gold Gloves and Tulowitzki already had 2.  And considering that Tulo, Ramirez and Reyes are all at least four years younger than Rollins, he’s going to fall further behind in these categories.

[* I’m not even going to bother mentioning Jeter who’s basically already in the Hall and A-Rod who, regardless of the ‘roids, hit 345 of his 600+ homers and won multiple awards as a shortstop. Those guys are in a different class.]

By the time Rollins would be eligible for the Hall, he’ll possibly be ranked in the middle to bottom half in the top ten list of contemporary shortstops. Jeter, A-Rod, Ramirez and Tulo, will be head and shoulders above the rest with Jose Reyes and Omar Vizquel  probably next, followed by Tejada, Rollins, and Renteria in the following group. Hall of Fame worthy? Not even close.

Consider recently inducted shortstops and how they compared to their peers.  Cal Ripken had 19 AS games, 8 Silver Sluggers and 2 MVPs. Barry Larkin had 12 AS games, 3 Gold Gloves, 8 Silver Sluggers and an MVP. Ozzie Smith had 15 AS games, 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP. Robin Yount won an MVP, went to 4 AS games and won 2 Silver Sluggers while playing shortstop. He then won another MVP and Silver Slugger as an outfielder.

Consider shortstops that aren’t in the Hall and how they compared to their peers. Alan Trammell had 6 AS games, 3 Silver Sluggers and 4 Gold Gloves. Dave Concepcion had 9 AS games, 5 Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Sluggers, as well as 2 World Series rings.

There are 21 shortstops in the Hall of Fame.  Jimmy Rollins has a nice resume, but it’s peanuts compared to those guys.

“Yeah but if Jimmy is able to start another 4-5 years and finishes around: .270/.750, 1500 R, 2600 H, 525 DBL, 120 TRPL, 225 HR, 1000 RBI, 500 SB, then I think he's HoF material,” some may say.

Hogwash. Those are the definition of “pretty good” stats. If you don’t believe me, check out his baseball-reference.com profile and check out his Hall of Fame monitor. Not even close.

Sure, Rollins might have more hits than some, or more steals than another, but Rollins doesn’t have any one statistical category that’s Hall of Fame worthy. Also, we’ve all seen the “Steroid Era” and the inflation of statistics. 2000 hits and 400 homers in the 80’s is much more impressive than similar stats put up recently. That’s why it’s important to compare players to others in their own generation, which I’ve done above.

However, if you want to talk direct stats, here’s some for you. Rollins has lead the league in triples four times, runs once and steals once. That’s it. The only other time he’s lead the league in an offensive category is at-bats and outs made.

Jimmy Rollins spent most of his career batting leadoff. However, he’s never had 50 steals in a season. He’s never had a OBP over .350. He’s never walked more than 58 times in a year which is why despite 1800 hits, he’s never hit .300. So as a leadoff hitter, he’s average at best .

His career OPS is .761, which is less than the light hitting Jose Reyes and not even close to the premier shortstops currently in the league. He has 373 steals, 3 ahead of Reyes. It’s a nice number, top 100 of all time. But it’s certainly not Hall worthy, considering there are plenty of average players with 450+ steals.

Rollins’ only shot at the Hall is reaching 3000 hits. He needs 1134 more hits. Over his last three full seasons, Rollins has averaged 158 hits per season. At that pace, which likely won’t continue as he gets older, he would need a little over seven more full seasons to reach 3000. Since it’s unlikely he could play 7 full seasons consecutively  at his age, he’ll likely need 8-9 more years to reach 3000. It’s possible. But it’s not very likely.

Also, how many players should go into the Hall of Fame? It should be only for the greatest and there are loads of past and current players that are much better than Rollins. Griffey, Biggio and Piazza are already posing for their plaques. (Bonds is posing for a mug shot.) Recent players like Jeff Kent, Jim Edmonds, Edgar Martinez, Albert Belle, Mark McGwire, and Larry Walker have a better Hall argument. And older players like Lou Whitaker, Tim Raines, Dale Murphy and many others have good stats but sit at home and not in Cooperstown. And look at the active players with far better  career numbers – Pujols, Jeter, A-Rod, Chipper, Vlad Guerrero, Miggy Cabrera, Ichiro, Ivan Rodriguez, Thome, Man-Ram, Helton, Berkman, Beltran, Abreu, Rolen, Mauer, Utley, Teixeira, Wright, Adrian Gonzalez, Ortiz. And then the players who certainly will have better numbers if they don’t already – Longoria, Holliday, Cano, Kemp, Fielder, Tulowitzki, Votto, Howard, Braun. Then there are the good, but no Hall worthy players, that have better numbers than Rollins – Aramis Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Kevin Youkilis, Jose Reyes, Carl Crawford, Michael Young, Torii Hunter, etc. I put Jimmy Rollins ahead of few, if any, of these players.

Consider the aforementioned Craig Biggio. Biggio hung around until he was 41 years old. Why? So he could get 3000 hits and get into the hall of fame. If Biggio retires at 38 and doesn't waste everyone's time with those sub-par last three years, he would have ended up 400 hits shy of 3000 and probably would not have gotten into the Hall. But Biggio went to 7 All Star games, won 4 Gold Gloves and 5 Silver Slugger Awards, all of which top Rollins. Also, he won a GG and SS at two positions, and would have had much better stats if he would not have spent three full years catching. Just look at what happened when he moved out from behind the plate. The point is, Biggio is more of a Hall of Famer than Rollins, but even he would wouldn't have made it without the 3000 hits.

In summary, Rollins has nice stats but you don't get into the Hall by having above average stats. You get in with great stats or being the dominant player are your position during your playing ear. Jimmy Rollins does not have exceptional numbers has not been dominant or elite at his position.  His only chance is via stat accumulation through longevity, ie 3000 hits. So, get back to me in 6 or 7 years and we’ll revisit this argument.

23 comments:

GM-Carson said...

Corey- I agree with your points. I'm glad I made the statement about Rollins HoF credentials because it lead to an excellent post by you.

Corey said...

gotta have something to write about in december.

one thing i did want to say about rollins but didn't fit well into the post is that he a really good player. he's been tremendously fun to watch. i'm glad the phillies re-signed him. he can help the phillies win another world series. i didn't mean for the post to be a negative post bashing jimmy, but rather a take on the the qualifications needed for the hall.

as an aside, i would love to write some posts arguing hall qualification of other phillies and non-phillies. looking back through stats there are some guys who have pretty good resumes but are not even close to getting in.

SirAlden said...

Again IF Rollins makes it to Carson's Stats he will in the the top 50%, 33%, and 25% of all the current 21 Shortstops in the Hall of Fame.

No Stat will be lower then the 21st Shortstop in the HOF.

SirAlden said...

Jimmy is all about Balance. IF he gets to IF.

Preserve Jon said...

Rollins is an excellent candidate for the Hall of Very Good, as Joe Posnanski writes on occasion. He's a player with league wide name recognition that does not receive all the accolades he probably should. Over the course of his career he may have never been the best defensive shortstop for five or seven consecutive years, but I would argue that he has always been one of the best three defensive shortstops over the. That being said, even at SS, defense doesn't get you in the HOF.

Conlin wrote an article about JRoll's HOF chances back in 2008 - I remember b/c I wrote him an email asking if his assessment was tongue in cheek and he wrote back telling me he was indeed serious (the internet is awesome!) - that was predicated on his stats not falling off the table in the next few years. While his stats did decline, they have not fallen off the table.

Keep in mind that during his production peak from 2004 to 2007 he AVERAGED 197 hits, 13 triples (leading league twice), 37 stolen bases, a WAR of 4.65, and just under 11 errors per season (great for a SS). He also won an MVP.

I won't realistically argue that Rollins is a HOFer. His production peak came too early in his career and did not last long enough. He plays in the game's most demanding position (outside catcher) and I expect those demands to take a toll on him during the remainder of his career.

That being said, if Jimmy can bang out three more years of 30 stolen bases, 170 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triples and fewer than 12 errors and then plays regularly through age 38 - not likely, but within the realm of possibilities - then he has an outside chance of making the HOF even without 3000 hits.

With three more years like that he'll have:
12 seasons with 25+ doubles
8 seasons with 10+ triples (and one with 9)
12 seasons with 30+ SB
2500+ hits

These stats would outstrip both Concepcion and Trammell - his current comparables at SS.

Of course, simply looking at Ozzie Smith's stats makes you wonder how he ever got in the HOF. You had to watch him play to understand why he was so great. Perhaps Jimmy has a similar flair going for him.

Whether he makes the HOF or not, I've enjoyed watching him play for the past 12 years and will enjoy the next three or four just as much.

Preserve Jon said...

BTW...Is there any way Madson finds his way back in red pinstripes for 2012?

I'd offer him a club-favorable deal for a year to fill out the 'pen and see if he's interested.

GM-Carson said...

Madson will get at least 3 yr/$25M somewhere.

GM-Carson said...

The 4th year vesting option at $11M for Rollins becomes a $8M team option or $5M player option if it doesn't vest.

Bob D said...

Jimmy will get in, however it will cost the ticket price of $19.50 for an adult. If he was a vet it would be free - military vet that is

Andrew said...

agree agree agree

SirAlden said...

Corey's excellent post is based not on Stats but relies heavily on Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, and All-Star Games.

If Jimmy is in the top 1/3 of All Stats vs the current 21 Shortstops in the Hall of Fame, he goes in. Maybe later on the Vet Committeeee. But he goes in.

SirAlden said...

Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Tejada are both ROIDERS.

GM-Carson said...

When was Nomar implicated of PEDs? I know it's suspected, but was it official?

Bob D said...

Right now JRoll is borderline. If he puts up 3 really good years he could put himself into serious talk

Anonymous said...

Ed Wade Re-Joins Phillies In Scouting Role
By Ben Nicholson-Smith [December 19 at 9:07pm CST]
Longtime MLB GM Ed Wade has returned to the Phillies in a scouting position, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports (on Twitter). Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle first reported that Wade would end up scouting for his former team (Twitter link).

The Astros dismissed Wade this fall after four years in Houston and a 56-106 showing in 2011. Wade became Philadelphia's GM in 1997 after spending years in the team's baseball operations department. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was Wade's assistant GM from 1999 until Wade's dismissal in 2005. The Phillies drafted Ryan Howard and Chase Utley while Wade was GM and selected Jimmy Rollins when he was the team's player personnel administrator.

Jeremy said...

I like this debate, it reminds me of the one that raged a few years ago when Mike Mussina retired. That is another good debate.

My bottom line, I agree with Corey. I like J-Roll and enjoy watching him when he isn't rolling over weak ground balls to the midddle infielders. He can be a spark plug for this lineup but over the course of his career, minus 2007, did I ever see HOF material coming from him. He has been a solid SS and a throw back as he has been with the Phils since they drafted him. I want him to retire a Phillie and hope for a late career resurgence that puts him over the top and into the HOF. However thus far into his career and I believe likely to continue sliding down he hasn't been HOF material.

GM-Carson said...

Mike Mussina is an interesting case for HoF. Maybe that can be Corey's next subject for a post like this.

My opinion- elect him.

Anonymous said...

His stats would only make the HOF if his name were Ron Santo....

Jay said...

For the fun of it, counterpoints and a pro-Jimmy stance. Is comparing AS, GG, SS awards a fair comparison. Did the players you sighted actually deserve all those awards. Is Jimmy deserving of more than 3-3-1. AS appearances are way to subjective and have far too many factors. It's more about great 1st halfs, reputation, popularity, managers decisions, every team must be represented etc etc. GG and SS are awards where at times "they just get it flat out wrong". Jimmy had @6 All-Star caliber seasons. He was MVP in '07 however not an AS that year. In '04Jack Wilson won the SS. Compare Jimmy to Jack in 04, Jimmy could or should have won. In 06 Jimmy was worthy however I do concede Reyes was better. Jimmy should have been the GG winner in 02 and 03 over renteria and in 04 Izturis and Jimmy are almost identical. A more accurate depiction of Jimmy is more like 6-2-6 rather than 3-1-3. Also all 11 seasons he played at a GG level and in those years he did not win was most likely 2nd at worst third. the "numbers are the numbers" but a more in depth analysis would be more accurate. You cited possible career numbers and used the term "Hogwash" as to his HoF credentials. You decided to look at those numbers as a whole, compare them to all players and used stats like 3000 hits 500 HRs" the so called bench marks" as your foundation. Whether you agree or not postion does matter and there are different standards for each postion. His stats should be only compared to other shortstops whose primary postion was SS and his defense should hold equal weight. I could argue they are actually equal to or better than Larkins. His slash lines aren't however Jimmy would have more R-H-2B-3B-HR-RBI-SB. Jimmy 162's avg for those categories are better than Larkins, now granted in the end that avg will most likely go down but will be comparable. His overall numbers would be better than a Trammell, Concepcion, who currently are not HoF but cited in your piece. Anyway great post, an enjoyable read, a great debate. In the end I lean more towards your camp and Jimmy will be in the" Hall of Very Good" not the HoF.

Aaron said...

That was long. I don't like lots of words

Andrew R. said...

This is just silly. First off, how Alan Trammell is NOT in the Hall is a sin.

And for every great player named better than rollins, I can combat that with the Rabbit Maranvilles, Kiki Cuylers, Joe Tinkers, Johnny Evers, etc., etc. that ARE in the hall and don't deserve to be.

The fact that Jimmy put up pretty good numbers in the "Roid Era" also plays to his favor. Being a little guy at a premium defensive position, he will get looked at favorably.

Despite not having the gold gloves, he is 2nd or 3rd all-time in fielding percentage. Again, that will get him noticed as well.

I don't think he will make the hall, but I do think he has a realistic shot. Don't be so quick to write him off. Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel became better hitters as they got older. I wouldn't put it past Jimmy to do the same. Clearly the hall is important to him and he will adjust if he wants to.

Anonymous said...

I hate when people use the Gold glove as importance. We heard about Jeter's decline for year now a SS. Yet he won a Gold Glove last year. Same with all-star game everyone said it was a disgrace jeter made it. Gold Glove and all-star games are not the true value of a player. I am not a J-Roll fan even a little bit. He is a great defensive SS and one of the best while he played. I am not saying he should get in or not. that should be decided on his career numbers. Not some of these awards that are handed out based on your name or what you did in the past. I think J-roll has been screwed on some of thes awards anyway.

GM-Carson said...

Jimmy's defense, aside from his 3 Gold Glove seasons has been vastly underrated. Corey doesn't think he's a HoF, but I do if he continues to put up career average #'s for the next 4-5 years.