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Can you compare Jimmy Rollins' stats to Barry Larkin's?

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You’ll get no argument here that Jimmy Rollins was one of the premier National League shortstops for over a decade.

 

At the same time, you’ll get no argument here that Rollins’ tenure in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform might end sooner than later.

 

As evidenced in his recent interview with MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, this is nothing Rollins doesn’t know. This core of Phillies is aging rapidly, and the next few months could very well determine whether some familiar faces stay or leave come the July 31st trade deadline.

 

Last night my good friend and Snowball’s Chance co-author Billy Vargus brought up a good question: How do Jimmy Rollins’ career numbers (up to this point) stack up against a shortstop of the same ilk: such as Cincinnati Reds’ Hall of Famer Barry Larkin?

 

To some it sounds crazy. But oddly enough, a lot of Rollins’ lifetime numbers are right on par with Larkin’s.

 

And believe it or not, some of them are actually better, while some are a work in progress.  Let’s compare some of their numbers, as well as some of the hardware they’ve gathered during their careers.

 

 

(The following numbers were tallied prior to the Phillies’ Saturday’s game against the Reds).

 
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Runs scored-

Larkin crossed the plate 1,329 times in his career, while Rollins has 1,200 runs scored. At some time over the next few seasons, Rollins will most likely eclipse this total.

 

 EDGE: Most likely RollinsJimmy Rollins Photo: Getty

 


 

Hits-

 Larkin has 2,340 career hits compared to Rollins’ 2,065. Barring injury, Rollins should amass over 2,400 hits in career.

 

 EDGE: Most likely Rollins when all is said and done.

 

 

 

 

Steals-

 Larkin stole 379 bases in his career- including 51 during his MVP year of 1995. Rollins’ career high is 47 during the Phillies’ championship season of 2008. Nonetheless, Rollins runs more consistently than Larkin did during his career- as evidenced by his 407 swipes.

 

 EDGE: Rollins

 


  

 Home runs-

Larkin wasn’t a prolific home run hitter and neither is Rollins, but Rollins’ total of 196 will surpass Larkin’s career total of 198 this season.

 

 EDGE: Rollins

 

 Batting Average-

With his .295 career average, Larkin clearly tops Rollins’ .270 clip. With Rollins’ average fluctuating the last several years, it would be no surprise to see his current average possibly dip from that .270 mark. Yep, all those Rollins pop ups are showing up somewhere.

 

 EDGE: Larkin

 
 

 

On Base Percentage-

 Larkin hit second for the majority of his career, which makes his .371 career OBP look even better than Rollins’ OBP of .328. Furthermore, Larkin walked a total of 939 times in his career, compared to Rollins’ current total of 641. So who’s actually the leadoff hitter here?

 

EDGE: Larkin

 
 

 

Slugging Percentage-

While Rollins displayed respectable power over the course of his career, Willy Mays Hayes’ .431 career slugging percentage pales in comparison to Larkin’s .444. Barry Larkin thumbnail: thedugoutdoctors.com

 

EDGE: Larkin

 
 

 

OPS and OPS+

 Larkin’s .815 career OPS average is above average and his adjusted OPS of 116 is above average. On the other hand, Rollins’ career OPS .759 average is just that: average. His adjusted OPS is slightly below average at 97. The average adjusted OPS is around .100.

 

 EDGE: Larkin



All Star appearances-

No contest here, either.  Larkin represented the National League in the mid-summer classic 12 times during his career. Rollins has only made the NL squad three times- two of them were during his first two full seasons in the majors.


Not to discredit Larkin by any means, but in his prime, his sole competition was essentially Ozzie Smith and that was it. Meanwhile, the evolution of the shortstop was in full bloom by the time Rollins arrived in the major leagues. Hanley Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria, and Jose Reyes were some of the shortstops who have edged out Rollins for sports on the NL roster.


EDGE: Larkin

 

 

MVP Awards-

Larkin and Rollins both have one MVP Award in their trophy case. Larkin won his in 1995, when he helped the Reds reach the NLCS. Rollins won a tightly contested race in 2007, when he edged out Matt Holliday from the National League Champion Rockies (who edged the Phillies in the 2007 NLDS)

 

EDGE: even

 
 

 

Silver Sluggers-

As mentioned earlier, the shortstop position changed between the time Larkin and Rollins began their respective careers. Nonetheless, Larkin dominates Rollins here, winning nine during his career, compared to Rollins’ sole award in his MVP year of 2007.

 

EDGE: Larkin


 

Gold Gloves-

Rollins four Gold Gloves edges out Larkin’s career total of three. Moreover, Rollins lifetime fielding average of .983 tops Larkin’s career average of .975.

 

EDGE: Rollins

 

Postseason and Championships-

Rollins clearly has the edge here, having played in five postseasons from 2007-2011. Larkin played in only two postseasons: 1990 and 1995.

 

Larkin (1990) and Rollins (2008) each have one World Championship, with Rollins having played in one more World Series than Larkin (2009).

 

It should be noted that Larkin also played in an era with no expanded playoffs until 1995. The Reds had five second place finishes between 1985 and 1992, so he likely would have made several more postseasons if the Wild Card existed during that time.

 

EDGE: Rollins

 

 

Impact on his team-

At first, one might think that the Rollins has already passed Larkin in several offensive categories due to superior talent. Not so fast. Some of this is attributed to the fact that Larkin was quite injury prone (he only played in 73 games in 1997 and just 45 in 2001) over the course of his 19-year career. From 1996 to 2004, Larkin played in 2180 regular season games, which averages to roughly 115 games a year. On the other side, Rollins has averaged 131 games played over the course of 14 seasons.

 

On the down side, Rollins hasn’t always displayed the exemplary attitude of Larkin during his almost 19 years in Cincinnati. Rollins’ occasional lack of hustle and calling out Phillies fans as “Front Runners” haven’t always endeared him to the Philly faithful or manager Charlie Manuel for that matter.

 

At the same time, Rollins’ now famous declaration that the Phillies were “The Team to Beat” following the start of the 2007 season arguably set the tone for one of the greatest stretches in team history. And like Larkin off the field, Rollins has always conducted himself as a model citizen (as most of the Phillies from this era have).

 


Final Thought:

 

Barry Larkin clearly did some things on the field better than Jimmy Rollins and was probably a more respected leader, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Rollins will pass Larkin in many notable offensive categories by the time he’s done playing.

 

In saying that, Larkin’s superior OBP, slugging percentage and OPS’ really stick out. Do I wish Rollins was a better leadoff hitter? Almost every time I watch the Phillies play. But it’s hard to argue with success. The Phillies have only had one losing season and one .500 season in Rollins’ 13 full seasons with the team.

 

This opinion might change, but I’m personally gonna call this one a draw for now.


What do YOU think?



 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Jimmy Rollins Photo: Getty

Thumbnail: brotherlylovesports.wordpress.com

Barry Larkin thumbnail: thedugoutdoctors.com