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Ranking Jimmy Rollins with rest of NL East shortstops

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If you haven’t yet already, take a minute to read the first two posts, which featured first and second basemen. In this edition of the series, we will be discussing shortstop.  

 

As a recap, the series is focused on breaking down the NL East, position by position, analyzing the players’ past performance, injecting speculation, and ultimately ranking each player to determine what team has the best order top to bottom.  Looking at the competition across the NL East should give us a good feel of how the Phillies will fair this year.  As always, your feedback and comments are welcomed and appreciated.  

 

Now, let’s turn our attention to positional matchups – who is the best shortstop and how do the Phillies match up?  Below is a chart with each team’s perspective starters and selected stats from 2012.  (Note: The players are listed below in order from best (top) to worst (bottom).

 

 

Table 1: *Player’s first full year in the majors

 

Shortstop (SS) in the NL East is a varied assortment mostly containing samplings of young, inexperienced, and defensive oriented players.  With former perennial All-Star names like Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez no longer a part of the NL East, the SS position is really lacking in talent.  Up and coming defensive stoppers like Andrelton Simmons and Adeiny Hechavarria, will try to show that their bats can succeed in accompaniment to their gloves during the grueling summer heat that is the MLB season.

Jimmy Rollins photo: Getty Images

 

Jimmy Rollins is the clear-cut, top-of-the-class, veteran at this position.  He and Ian Desmond are the only NL East SS’s that can put up both power and speed numbers while scoring at a high clip and driving in a solid volume of RBIs. Rollins’ dominance as the Phillies’ leadoff hitter was challenged in spring training this year by an eager Ben Revere, acquired from the Minnesota Twins for starting pitcher, Vance Worley.

 

Manager Charlie Manuel is staying loyal to Rollins by keeping him in the leadoff position (at least at the start of the season), mainly because Manuel is comfortable with Rollins and likes Jimmy’s ability to drive in bottom of the order runs. Revere will, however, push Rollins for the lead spot if he can continue to show consistent contact and patience at the plate- in addition to an aggressive appetite for stolen basis on the base path.  

 

Desmond compliments his Washington nicely by supplying all around solid numbers.  He is a strong, professional hitter that provides a productive amount of runs, RBIs, home runs, stolen bases, and batting average.  He will continue his strong contributions batting sixth for the Nationals this year.  In 2012, Ruben Tejada did his best to fill in for long time Met Reyes.  Unfortunately for Mets fans, Tejada is nowhere near the skilled player Reyes is. Tejada has limited speed, limited power, and limited overall ability, and bats eighth for a reason.  

 

The Braves are showing an immense amount of confidence in their young shortstop by batting him at the top of their order.  This is a risk/reward move for this club as they are expected to challenge for the NL East pennant with a heavy dose of hard hitting bats.  If Simmons takes advantage of the confidence the club is showing in him, than the Braves could hit their way to title contention for years to come.  In contrast to Simmons, Hechavarria moved from a contender to possibly the worst team in the majors.  Moving from Toronto in the now infamous, blockbuster trade that had Miami Fans cursing their team’s ownership as the club shipped off the likes of Reyes and Josh Johnson, Hechavarria benefited with a starting job. His glove will keep him employed but his offensive numbers should be a bit dreary when compared to his NL East counterparts.

 

Be sure to read and react to all of the position primers.  Next up: Third Base.  

 

Let’s go Phills!

 

Chris Sweeney is a freelance writer and philly2philly.com contributor.  He grew up in Bucks County, played Division 2 basketball at East Stroudsburg University where he became interested in the media when he hosted a night time radio show.  He left ESU to join the Air Force, which he served in for five years (including 1 Middle Eastern Tour).  Chris was bred to be a passionate Philadelphia Sports fan and enjoys everything that the Philly sports scene has to offer (the competition, the news articles, the books, and talk radio).  He now resides in New Jersey with his wife and five children.

 You can reach him at christopher_sweeney_02@yahoo.com   

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Rollins photo: Getty Images