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.

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