Yeah, the case really can’t be made that he’s been baseball’s best overall shortstop this season. Ian Desmond has .2 less WAR, well within the margin of error, in 30 fewer games played and 150 fewer at bats.
Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — September 20, 2012 @ 2:07 pm
Well, doesn’t that just mean that the case can ALSO be made for Desmond? It certainly doesn’t mean the case CAN’T be made for Rollins.
Great article. One thing to keep in mind is what would you rather have, a player like Rollins or David Wright, who have incredible months and awful months, or a player who is consistently solid. I, and my guess is most fans, would vote for consistency, mostly because in order to win the entire team must be performing adequately. During Rollins’ incredible September, Ryan Howard has been awful, and for some of it, Carlos Ruiz has been injured. Rollins may get on base but it doesn’t lead to as many runs as it should. When he’s awful, no one is on base for Utley, Howard, and Ruiz to drive in, thus leading to fewer runs scored. Rollins has played well overall in the first year of his contract, and given the other options, Ruben Amaro seems to have made a good deal. Consistency would be nice though. Also, Rollins’ base running can’t be overlooked, he’s still pretty quick, but more importantly he’s a smart runner who doesn’t get thrown out very often, whether it be when attempting a stolen base or when going from 1st to 3rd.
I, like many fans on the Phillies blogs, including those among us who are harsh RAJ critics, liked the Rollins deal. In fact, it was one of the only, if not the only, deal that RAJ has signed in his tenure in which he let the market play itself out and used leverage to his advantage in getting the right price and the right number of years.
During Rollins incredible September, the Phillies are 12-5, so you could argue that his inconsistency has benefited the team in the sense that it has allowed them to win at a high percentage while other players were injured and/or under-performed. Personally, I’ll take 5+ WAR from my shortstop whether it is 0.83 WAR per month for 6 months or something more along the lines of what the Phils have gotten from Jimmy this year.
I agree that Rollins’ season is great, and that 5+ WAR from a shortstop, no matter how it’s added up, is awesome. My point was only that throughout Rollins’ career consistency has sometimes been an issue and it shows this year as well. Obviously the best case scenario is for your players to all be hot at the same time, but that rarely happens. If not, you want them to at least be consistent, rather than bi-polar, what if when Rollins is hot everyone else slumps, it won’t always lead to wins. I don’t think the Phillies run scoring abilities have gone up dramatically in September. Their 12-5 record is more likely influenced by the much improved pitching, both from the bullpen and the rotation.
Well, yes, it has been the pitching. Runs have been way down. There have been several games this month in which Rollins has provided almost all of the offense.
But the reverse is true, too. Rollins worse other months were not major reasons they were in the hole they were in, it was pitching. In fact, their worst month, record-wise, was easily June, and that was a great month for Rollins.
David, did not mean you and I apologize about my imprecision. I was referring to some of my fellow commenters here who are knee jerk anti-Ruben in all cases because of some of his high profile mistakes. Keep up the good work, which I enjoy and do not find biased.
Actually, they’ve scored 4.65 runs per game in September after scoring 4.15 runs per game through August 31. My point being that I don’t care at all whether a player is very consistent from month to month or if he is very volatile like Jimmy. It seems very likely that they would still be around 1 game over .500 if Jimmy had produced a WRC+ of 106 in each month instead of the volatile results that Dave has shown.
I believe it has to due with the uncertainty or unreliability in baserunning and defensive statistics for less than a full season of data. If you sum the root of each of those values, you get the margin of error. In this case, it would be .44 fWAR
Two big problems with this article. First, without having some measure of average or median month to month variation among all players, or at least all starters, looking at one player’s performance doesn’t mean a whole lot. Second, this measure of variation is time-frame dependent. Different cut points–such as every 40 games or every 200 PAs–might tell a very different story. Finally, I find it funny that the author, on discovering that J Rollins is having a good year, responds by emphasizing the perceived inconsistency of that performance.
They usually say that anything within .5 WAR is ambiguous.
Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — September 20, 2012 @ 6:09 pm
To me, he seems like someone that would always get a worse contract than you’d expect based solely on his WAR. Last offseason, he was coming off of 3 seasons with an obp under .340 and 2 seasons with a slg under .400. A lot of his value comes from defense, baserunning and position scarcity. It doesn’t come from terrific offensive numbers, like you’d find with someone like Miguel Cabrera. Whenever I look at his numbers, then look at his WAR, it doesn’t really reconcile very well. Maybe GMs feel the same way.
Comment by vivalajeter — September 20, 2012 @ 6:11 pm
No doubt, but would you say that Chris Johnson is a better overall third baseman than Evan Longoria this season because he has more WAR? (Obviously this is reducto ad absurdum, but still)
Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — September 20, 2012 @ 6:13 pm
Who is “they?”
I mean, that seems reasonable, sure, but the glossary article here on Fangraphs doesn’t shed any light on the issue. You cite this as if it’s common knowledge, which it certainly is not.
It’s the number I see thrown around whenever people make disclaimers about WAR, I don’t remember any specific articles though. Sorry.
Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — September 20, 2012 @ 7:58 pm
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When Rollins is done playing, he could possibly be among the top shortstops all-time in various categories. If he has three more moderately productive years and two more average years, he stands to finish in the:
– Top 5 in HR
– Top 10 in SB
– Top 10 in 2B
– Top 10 in 3B
– Top 15 in RS
– Top 20 in H
Not to say that those stats necessarily indicate player value or all-time greatness, but it sure seems that the voters take those sorts of numbers into account.
Unless Rollins is some sort of playa-ogre, I think you may have hit on something. The birth of a first child roils your world. I think Musial mentioned that, in one of his off years, he had a baby at home that cried a lot at night. Not that I am comparing the two on the field…
Most of his value is tied up in his (admittedly stellar) glove and his position (not to mention durability; he’s reached 600 PAs in every season but one since he was a rookie in 2001). His offense has been almost exactly average (101 career wRC+), and these are not the kinds of players who tend to get lots of HoF consideration. His best season wasn’t spectacular either. I’d say it’s super unlikely. If he has a couple more seasons like this with 20+ homers and good to great D, yeah he could have a shot, but I also really, /really/ don’t expect that.
He does usually catch everything within 3 feet of him. If it’s 4 feet away, Porcello just allowed another baserunner.
Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — September 21, 2012 @ 8:59 am
Rollins is probably the player I flip flop on the most. His defense and baserunning are superb, but he can be infuriating at the plate. He goes from being a Top 3 or 4 hitting middle infielder to looking like Dan Uggla at the plate far too often. At times, I think he’s a Top 5 shortstop in the game, and then for a couple of months, I’ll think he’s average at best. A lot of players are streaky, but very few of them have peaks as good as Rollins when they are going well.
Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — September 21, 2012 @ 9:07 am
Positional adjustment. That’s a well above average line for a shortstop, and he’s also a pretty good defender/baserunner.
Comment by Gherkin Lamar — September 21, 2012 @ 11:28 am