What’s Wrong with Rollins?

With now over 300 plate appearances into the season, it’s hard to keep saying it’s just a slump for Jimmy Rollins. To the chagrin of his fantasy owners and fans of the reigning World Champs, the 2007 MVP is currently the worst hitting regular shortstop in baseball. His .255 wOBA translates to -20.5 batting runs. His manager, Charlie Manuel recently said Jimmy needs to “sit and relax”, meaning Rollins is going to ride some pine for a while and try and sort things out.

While I’d like to point to his .218 BABIP and blame bad luck, it is a little more dubious than that. Rollins really is trending downward in all the wrong places.

        BB%     LD%     IFFB%   HR/FB   wFB/C   Spd    UZR/150
2007    6.4     19.9     7.5    10.7     0.58   8.8     6.3
2008    9.4 	24.0    11.8     7.2    -0.12   7.8    15.0
2009    5.1     16.5    14.4     5.4    -1.57   5.7     4.0

What really rears it’s ugly head is that J-Roll is really having some major hang-ups with the heat, to the tune of -1.57 runs per 100 fastballs pitched. He’s also not striking the ball with authority, as evidenced by a plummeting line-drive rate and a hike in infield flies. It could be something as simple as a flat swing, or it could a slowing bat. That’s where scouting comes in, and someone who regularly watches the Phillies can feel free to help me fill in the blanks.

There’s also that drop in his speed score and UZR, which could have other implications, as in maybe he’s lost a step. At 31-years old, I’m hardly saying Rollins is finished, though I think this could be the beginning of the end of Rollins best days. Of course, he also could win another MVP next year and make me look really stupid.

Regardless of whether he’s entering a decline phase or is just in the slump of a lifetime, there has to be a little hand-wringing going on in Philadelphia over their star shortstop.

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Erik Manning is the founder of Future Redbirds and covers the Cardinals for Heater Magazine. You can get more of his analysis and rantings in bite-sized bits by following him on twitter.

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