Sunday, July 28, 2013

Should Jimmy Rollins be a Hall of Famer?

Does Jimmy Rollins belong in the Hall of Fame?  It's a hard question to answer, especially because his playing career isn't over yet.  He's only 34, but he's been in the league for 13 years and has nearly 2000 games under his belt. 

It's easy to imagine him playing another 4 or 5 years, although his production could decline to the point that he's no longer an everyday player.  If he continues playing everyday for another few years, you can throw another 300 runs, 50 homers and 500 hits or so onto what he has now.

One of the biggest things he has going for him is a mixture of power and speed.  No, he's not Barry or A-Rod in their prime (probably a good thing now), but he was a 30-30 guy in his MVP year of 2007 and he's gone 20-30 in 2006, 2009 and 2012. 

198+ HR, 400+ SB, 2100+ H, 1200+ R (since 1900)
Barry Bonds
Rickey Henderson
Craig Biggio
Joe Morgan
Johnny Damon
Paul Molitor
Roberto Alomar
Jimmy Rollins

He's already on the list and he's still only 34. 

225 HR. 440 SB, 1400 R, 2400 H
Barry Bonds
Rickey Henderson
Joe Morgan
Paul Molitor

Jimmy Rollins: 198 HR, 415 SB, 2127 H, 1227 R

Those are very achievable goals considering that he probably has at least several more years as an everyday player.  He's also won 4 golden glove awards in addition to his MVP.

There are plenty of knocks against him.  He's only finished in the top 10 in MVP voting once other than 2007 (finished 10th in 2005) and hasn't receiving a vote since.  He's only been in 3 all star games and was an average postseason performer (.250 average and 3 HR in 46 games; .222 in 2 WS appearances).  His on-base percentage is low (.328), especially for a lead-off hitter.

Even as he continues to rack of hits, SB and home runs, his career batting average will likely continue to slide.  His career average is .270 right now, but he's hitting .260 this year and hasn't hit over .270 since 2008.  He probably won't get to 3000 hits or anywhere close unless he stays productive for a long time.

That said, I think he should eventually get in (although probably not first ballot) if he ends up with around 225-250 HR, 450-500 SB, 2500 H and 1500 R, along with his 4 golden gloves and MVP.  There is no reason that getting 3000 hits should make entry to the Hall of Fame a virtual lock, while compiling great stats across the board shouldn't.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Signs of Trouble for the A's?

Playoff Contenders Struggling in July

#26 Pirates 53 (26th Overall)
#27 A's 52 (9th)

#18 Cardinals 4.03 (4th)
#20 Braves 4.12 (2nd)
#22 Rangers 4.26 (8th)

All of these numbers are probably making these teams very nervous, but the A's are the one to watch.  They are 10-6 in July on the strength of great pitching, but the collapse of their offense this month might be a sign that they've been playing over their heads. 

They do not have a lineup with established stars and their best hitters have weak track records.  July is a small sample size (16 games) and some of the players struggling in July (Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie) played fine in June.  The A's are have been surprising people for a while now and are certainly capable of leading the league in scoring runs in August (as they did in April), but this could also be the first sign that they might struggle to score runs for the rest of the year. 

They can still make the playoffs if they pitch well and the Rangers struggle, but it could make it very difficult to go deep in the playoffs. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Can the Royals still be a contender?-

Teams w/ Positive Run Differential
Cardinals +122
Red Sox +92
Tigers +90
Braves +76
A's +63
Reds +60
Rays +47
Pirates +42
Rangers +27
Orioles +25
D-Backs +21
Indians +16
Royals +4

Every team on that list is considered to be a serious playoff contender except for the Royals.  Several teams that are in the playoff race have a run differential at 0 (Yankees) or below 0 (Nationals).  The Royals are the only team under .500 that has a positive run differential, so they are clearly underachieving.

They are 6th in ERA and 23rd in runs, so scoring runs is their major problem.  Even there, they've been making improvements.

Runs scored, rank
April: 19th
May: 22nd
June: 16th
July: 11th

With the unbalanced schedule, they'll have their chance.  They have 11 more games against the Tigers and 8 against the Indians.  It is going to be hard for them to compete over the long run with the firepower of the Indians and Tigers.

But, as the Giants have shown in the past few years, a team can get by with a mediocre offense if they can pitch.  Their relievers are already dominating (ranked 3rd) and the starters are probably capable of doing more (ranked 15th).  They have a big test coming up in the final week before the All-Star Break, with 4 in the Bronx and 3 in Cleveland.  

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