Revisiting the Jimmy Rollins Contract

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins is wrapping up year two of his three-year, $33 million contract signed back in December 2011. At the time, I wrote it was “a huge coup” for the Phillies considering he potentially could have gotten more money and more years elsewhere had his options not vanished when other players signed. Additionally, the Phillies were bereft of other options to fill the position, with an unproven, light-hitting Freddy Galvis being the only player even in the conversation.

2012 was a typical year for the older Rollins, finishing with 2.4 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference. It was his third consecutive season posting a WAR in the 2.0 (average) to 2.5 range. On the open market, a 2-WAR player is worth about $10 million, so he was paid equivalent to his value last year.

This season has been a different story. Rollins has lost nearly 35 points in wOBA, dropping from .322 to .288. His power has been halved as his ISO dropped from .177 to .093. He continues to strike out at a rate we hadn’t seen since 2003. After stealing 30 bases each in 2011-12, in 38 and 35 attempts respectively, he has stolen 20 in 26 attempts this season. FanGraphs credited him with eight base running runs last year but just 2.5 this year. And by all accounts — scouting, stats, and otherwise — Rollins is having the worst defensive season of his career.

All told, Baseball Reference lists him with 0.0 WAR, or exactly replacement level. This means that if the Phillies hadn’t had Rollins at shortstop to start the year, they could have plucked a John McDonald-type from free agency for the minimum salary ($490,000) and gotten the same production (e.g. McDonald this season: -0.1 WAR). In other words, while the Phillies paid Rollins exactly at his value last season, the $11 million they will have paid him in total for the 2013 season will have been $11 million too much based on what he has done at the plate, on the bases, and in the field. Going into the final guaranteed year of his contract, Rollins would need to have a 4-WAR season for the Phillies to break even. Rollins hasn’t had a 4-WAR season since 2008.

Needless to say, the Phillies will emerge losers on the Rollins contract when all is said and done. Now the important question is, can Rollins salvage that final guaranteed year? All of his offensive peripherals are similar to those last year; the only difference, and the biggest difference, is the power. Michael Young dropped from a .160 ISO in 2010 to .136 and then .093, but recovered slightly this year with the Phillies at .114. However, it was mostly a BABIP-fueled recovery — Young has hit the same amount of home runs as he did last year (eight), and a similar amount of combined doubles and triples (30 to 28). His BABIP, though, rose 20 points this season. Rollins posted a .277 BABIP this year, his highest since .290 in 2008.

It is tough for older players to recover their power once they lose it. Since 1993, only five shortstops have posted a .150 or better ISO at Rollins’ age (34):

Player Year ISO Age Tm Lg PA
Jose Valentin 2004 .258 34 CHW AL 504
Mike Bordick 2000 .158 34 TOT ML 644
Barry Larkin 1998 .195 34 CIN NL 626
Shawon Dunston 1997 .151 34 TOT NL 511
Cal Ripken 1996 .188 35 BAL AL 707
Cal Ripken 1995 .160 34 BAL AL 613
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/14/2013.

It’s been tougher to do it at 35, even if we lower the threshold to .125:

Player Year ISO Age Tm Lg PA
Derek Jeter 2009 .131 35 NYY AL 716
Miguel Tejada 2009 .142 35 HOU NL 674
Omar Vizquel 2002 .143 35 CLE AL 663
Barry Larkin 1999 .127 35 CIN NL 687
Cal Ripken 1996 .188 35 BAL AL 707
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/14/2013.

While it is possible that Rollins bounces back and hits like he did last year, it isn’t likely. He may be done being a 15-20 homer, 25-30 double threat. Instead, he may be a 10-15 homer, 20-25 double hitter with continuously-declining base running and defensive contributions.

One last important thing to point out is the option year on Rollins’ contract. His 2015 option vests at $11 million if he racks up 600 plate appearances in 2014 or he combines for 1,100 between 2013-14 and is not on the disabled list at the end of the ’14 season. If the option doesn’t vest, the Phillies can pick up a club option at $8 million, or Rollins can opt to return to the team with a $5 million player option. Rollins has already logged 598 PA this season with 15 games left to go. Unless he suffers an injury, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the ’15 option vests at $11 million, which makes this contract look even worse. While it is nowhere near as destructive as Ryan Howard‘s, five-year, $125 million contract, it becomes another in a long line of multi-year contracts that haven’t panned out for the Phillies in recent years.

Fortunately, Freddy Galvis has made progress and the team has two shortstops with potential in the lower levels of the system in Roman Quinn and 2013 first-round draft pick J.P. Crawford. Rollins may be a sunk cost but their future at the position looks brighter now than it did at the time the contract was signed.

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42 comments

  1. Richard

    September 14, 2013 07:16 AM

    Of course, both years look rather better if you look at fWAR. He was at 4.8 last year, 1.1 this year.

    I think he’s a good bet to bounce back next year. His power decline could simply be a function of HR/FB luck (he otherwise has a normal number of doubles). And his basestealing has rebounded already, as he has 12 consecutive successful attempts.

    Still, he’s obviously on the decline. But I don’t think the contract is looking back.

  2. AGH

    September 14, 2013 09:18 AM

    Bill, I seem to remember your praising Rollins and criticizing Pierre last year. Maybe I misinterpreted your points, but given Pierre’s contract, wasn’t he a bigger success last year in terms of dollars to WAR?

  3. Bill Baer

    September 14, 2013 09:27 AM

    Pierre was a lot better than anyone could have reasonably expected (2.0 rWAR, his most since 2006). But my issue with Pierre was the role he was in (full-time outfielder) as to the one for which he was best-suited (fifth OF; pinch-hitter/pinch-runner). I had actually suggested that the Phillies pick him up before they did, but specifically as a bench player.

  4. Radu

    September 14, 2013 11:43 AM

    Maybe if they keep Galvis around (as opposite to sending him back to LHV to “play regularly”) they’ll just shoot two (or three) birds with one stone:
    - sends Rollins the message that he’s not penciled at SS no matter what which might bump up his productivity – he seems to be the type of player which needs to be reminded to do his job; in any case a little competition is always benefic
    - gives Galvis more PAs at a level that matters
    - results in the option not being vested

    Regarding the “message”, it seems to me that the first step was made when he is not penciled lead-off even with Revere on DL.

    All things considered, I’d say that, going into spring training, the SS is anyone’s to take.

  5. Larry

    September 14, 2013 12:40 PM

    Bill, I’m OK with the Rollins/Galvis comparison, but…this statement is tough to believe:

    “All told, Baseball Reference lists him with 0.0 WAR, or exactly replacement level. This means that if the Phillies hadn’t had Rollins at shortstop to start the year, they could have plucked a John McDonald-type from free agency for the minimum salary ($490,000) and gotten the same production (e.g. McDonald this season: -0.1 WAR)”

    Regarding Richard’s point of Rollins fWAR 1.1 seems to make some sense to me when considering McDonald has -1.0 fWAR, which makes a 2.1 WAR difference, which is a lot.

    However Bill I’d also point out a statement you made in another thread which makes most sense to me:

    ” We need to look at many stats to assess players, and one of them should be WAR. But it shouldn’t be the only stat we look at or cite.”

    I have been critical of JRoll this year, but I can’t fathom McDonald being an equal to Jimmy this year.

    One thing for sure though, this is a very controversial article with 2 different saber sites view of this comparison: Crashburn vs Fangraphs.

    BTW, great topic, Jimmy is always a very interesting Phillie to read about, which will generate a lot of different opinions. (A struggling fringe Hall of Famer who has been a huge contributor to the Phillies franchise)

  6. Larry

    September 14, 2013 01:06 PM

    Ah, I should have attached your next sentence after his quote.

    “If you take away one thing from Caple’s article it should be this, but it doesn’t just apply to WAR — it applies to all statistics.”

  7. Richard

    September 14, 2013 02:24 PM

    er, my last sentence above should have been: “But I don’t think the contract is looking bad.”

  8. T. Martin

    September 14, 2013 04:23 PM

    Let’s be honest, in all likelihood Jimmy will be around until he breaks the franchise record for hits. He’s currently 4th but only needs 78 to surpass Schmidt. That will, barring injury occur next year. Once that happens two things become certain, one almost immediately and the other a few years down the road.

    1) Unless the Phillies are very much in the thick of the playoff race in July next year, Rollins will be shipped out of town. Maybe not on the same day that they schedule a pregame ceremony to acknowledge his accomplishment like Chuck but soon thereafter.

    2) Five years later, Rollins will, without any doubt be inducted into the HOF as a Phillie.

  9. Frank K

    September 14, 2013 04:33 PM

    Well written…the conversation during the game last night about Rollins’ chances to be a Hall of Famer made me throw up. You can’t end your career with lousy year after lousy year and make the Hall of Fame

  10. Robby Bonfire

    September 14, 2013 05:03 PM

    If I made the HOF with Rollins’ career OBP, I would have the integrity to give it back.

  11. Juums

    September 14, 2013 05:08 PM

    My first thought on ending your career on lousy years was Hank Aaron, but the point’s the same. If you’ve been great enough, you can end things on a whimper and still be a first-ballot guy into the Hall of Fame. Rollins’ problem is that both examples cited were into the forties when they finally retired. (And that Hank Aaron is one of the five best hitters ever, while Steve Carlton is certainly the best pitcher in Phillies’ franchise history.)

  12. Robby Bonfire

    September 14, 2013 05:18 PM

    Rollins has as many career hits as he has, by the way, because of his adamant refusal, year after year to HELP THE TEAM, work the count and take the walk.

    He is a clone right out of the Bill James reference, years ago, to Steve Garvey and Garry Templeton as “Notoriously selfish ballplayers.” They didn’t take the walk to help their team, either. Garvey would rather the Dodgers finish out of the playoffs than relinquish his annual quest for 200 hits on as few walks as possible, to abet his getting there. Another “Hall of Fame” lobbyist playing for himself, first, he was. Ron Cey and Don Sutton called him out for his selfishness, and sure enough, the dolt LA media sided with Garvey. Just goes to show, “popularity” trumps substance, every time. Cey and Sutton were not “marquee” guys.

    I know more about nuclear physics than Jimmy Rollins knows about being a team-oriented ballplayer. Really tired of the mediocre, career longevity totals of selfish, one or two dimensional ballplayers being played-up like their career amounted to more than a rusty tin can being sold for scrap. Ricky Henderson is the prototype leadoff hitter. Check out Rollins’ stats vs. Henderson and see what you get for power and OBP, and tell me Rollins ranks with the all-time best in the leadoff role.

  13. Dan K.

    September 14, 2013 07:34 PM

    “one or two dimensional ballplayers”

    I legitimately laughed at this. Which two dimensions are you focusing on for Rollins? Defense and speed? Defense and power? Speed and power? Rollins, in his prime, was a 5 tool player if you have forgotten. It’s not his fault his manager put him at #1 in the lineup. And why would you fault a person for WANTING to be the best, even if he isn’t?

    You don’t have to like the guy. Hell, I’ve never really gotten over him calling Philly fans front-runners (by the way, Jimmy, are you still saying that about us knowing that the stadium isn’t empty after two consecutive bad seasons?). But show him some damn respect. Whether you like it or not, he’s the best SS the Phillies have ever had.

  14. Jerome

    September 14, 2013 08:32 PM

    I found this cool leaderboard on Fangraphs:

    Rollins is 8th in the clutch stat this year despite having such a crappy season. Interesting…and definitely disproves everything Mr. Bonfire said earlier. I wonder if Rollins is so bad this season because the Phillies are so bad. He apparently gives his best effort in clutch situations (something I’ve always believed, but never had verified), but the Phils haven’t given JRoll that many clutch opportunities this year.

  15. AGH

    September 14, 2013 09:14 PM

    Bill, re: Pierre–I understand that he profiles as a 4th or 5th OF, but who would you have preferred in the lineup last year? The Phillies had a dearth of options.

    Pierre ended up with a higher WAR than Pence and almost matched Victorino. Sure, you could have run Brown out there, but I think there was legitimate concern about whether he had completely recovered from the hand injury. (Which doesn’t in any way excuse Amaro’s handling of Brown up until that point.)

  16. SJHaack

    September 14, 2013 09:22 PM

    @AGH

    For most baseball moves, you have to judge the decision making process rather than the results.

    Was it a good idea to sign Juan Pierre to be a corner outfielder, where he hadn’t been able to play at a league average level in half a decade? No. Did Juan Pierre have a nice year? Yeah he did, but unexpectedly so. The results were good for the Phillies.

    Was it a good idea to sign Delmon Young to be a corner outfielder, where he’s never been a league average player? No. Did Delmon Young have a nice year? Nope, he was almost exactly what everyone who groaned about the signing expected. The results were poor for the Phillies.

    If Bryce Harper tomorrow was suddenly never able to play another baseball game, would signing him right out of high school to an ML contract and then bringing him up at 19 have been wrong? No, he has proven he was well worth the contract, and the decision was the correct one which hypothetically would have not worked out.

  17. Bob

    September 14, 2013 09:44 PM

    The Phils need to limit his ABs. We can’t have him back for that fourth year. Unfortunately, the Phils still have no one in the system to replace him. Galvis is a bench player-super utility guy. How have the Phils not developed any SS after three more years of Rollins? It’s astounding the lack of long term, or even short term for that matter, thinking.

  18. LTG

    September 14, 2013 09:55 PM

    Just so it’s clear. The difference between Rollins’s rWAR and fWAR is the defensive metric. DRS has him as at -14 runs as opposed to UZR which has him at -2.2. To be honest, I’m not sure which one to believe, if either. Only fishy thing is that DRS has rated him negatively for 3 seasons running and 4 of the last 5. That strikes me as unlikely.

  19. a. i.

    September 14, 2013 10:38 PM

    Prior to 2012, I had hoped Amaro would only guarantee Rollins one year at Market Value (or two years if well-under MV) and make any additional years heavily performance-based (not PA-based). It’s highly unlikely that Rollins will perform up to his year-3 salary ….. unless he’s as embarrassed about his 2013 as I am, and goes nuts reinventing himself. He’s a HOF defender (career-wise), but his blind emulation of his boyhood hero (Ricky H) waylaid his development into what I imagine could have been a Pete Rose type consistent & disruptive table-setter. A Rollins with Bowa wiring would be so much easier to appreciate.

  20. Josh G

    September 15, 2013 03:22 AM

    I am becoming more and more convinced that we need to have a rotation with Galvis, Rollins, and Utley each playing 2 out of 3 games. This will keep Rollins’ option from vesting, keep Utley from wearing down, and keep Galvis up to speed with regular playing time.

    Galvis’ defense and baserunning could put him at 2 WAR given the playing time, don’t you think?

  21. hk

    September 15, 2013 06:15 AM

    Josh G,

    It’s tough for me to see Galvis, he of the career .615 OPS in MiLB and career .657 OPS in MLB, hitting enough next year to accumulate 2 WAR in 2/3 of a season (~400 PA’s). He’s had 401 PA’s spread over this season and last and he’s accumulated 0.8 WAR in them. In fact, if Freddy projects to accumulate 2 WAR in 2/3 of the season, he would project to accumulate 3 WAR over a full season in which case he should be the every day SS and Frandsen or Hernandez should be used to rest Utley in 1/4 or 1/3 of the games.

    By the way, I do not disagree with your premise that they should reduce Chase’s and Jimmy’s PT to keep them healthy (and to ensure that Jimmy’s option does not vest). I just think your expectations are too high for Galvis.

  22. Bob

    September 15, 2013 09:09 AM

    I agree that no way Galvis is a 2 war player. That would mean that he’s a league average ss, and, based on his offensive track record, I don’t see where anyone could come to that conclusion. This isn’t the steroid era anymore when people magically develop overnight into big league hitters.

  23. Ryan

    September 15, 2013 09:36 AM

    Rollins should be a start the season as the starter, but, if he continues his regression, be moved to utility player while Galvis moves into the lineup full time. This will prevent him from vesting his option at full price while still giving us some value and putting the best team on the field. It’s really not that complicated. The Phillies won’t be contending anyway (without a ton of luck or huge bounce back years from Halladay/Howard (highly unlikely)…so what’s the big deal?

  24. Jeff T

    September 15, 2013 10:39 AM

    I’m not 100% certain that Galvis can be a MLB starter but lets look at Andrelton Simmons for an example of a player who can be valuable without much offense at SS.

  25. Joisey

    September 15, 2013 10:44 AM

    Bill,
    Good analysis of how Rollins numbers correlate his pay. But is it proper to use his numbers alone to determine if his contract was a wise investment? Isn’t this the mistake of hindsight being 20/20?

    It seems to me if you are going to accurately determine if Rollins contract was a good investment, then you also need to add a factor for risk. Rollins was a known quantity, re-signed at a time when the perceived risk of the unknown( Galvis, etc) was high.

    I believe that risk is an important to factor in when building a baseball team. Success doesn’t come from making every decision correctly. It comes from knowing some of your decisions will turn out as you expected, some will be better than expected, others will be worse, and managing that risk so that overall your team does well.

    I think you were correct in your statements when Rollins was re-signed. It was a good decision. His current play doesn’t negate that. It gave Galvis and the rest of the farm system more time to develop. What if we went with Galvis, and he got hurt? Or we signed a John MacDonald type and he got hurt? Rollins gives us the luxury of signing MacDonald as a backup, then releasing him. It also means next year we can start Galvis at short if he merits it, and use Rollins as utility.

    This flexibility has a dollar value, and I would have like to have seen this in your analysis.

    If there is a fault in Phillies management, it is that too much risk was taken on older players in general. However, I don’t think this means the Rollins contract was unwise.

  26. Bob

    September 15, 2013 10:53 AM

    What is the Phillies’ plan to replace Rollins? They have none. This is a huge problem.

  27. Larry

    September 15, 2013 11:27 AM

    @LTG

    “Only fishy thing is that DRS has rated him negatively for 3 seasons running and 4 of the last 5. That strikes me as unlikely.”

    Yes, that doesn’t seem right does it? Jimmy Rollins is an interesting case when you see how different he is viewed defensively DRS VS UZR. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum which totally changes his value.

    When Richard posted that he had a 4.8 WAR last year according to Fangraphs, that shows quite a different story. It’s double compared to his rWAR. That makes me think that if people rely on rWAR over fWAR, then you really can’t use UZR when talking about Jimmy Rollins. At this point you have to pick a side, because one contradicts the other.
    Now in other cases where the DRS and UZR are in the same ballpark so to speak, I think it would be OK to use rWAR and UZR when talking about a particular player. Clearly there are flaws in this system. Hence why I would never look at just one stat to evaluate a player’s worth.

  28. hk

    September 15, 2013 11:49 AM

    Larry,

    Just wondering, how would you – using more than one stat – assess whether Rollins has earned the first $22M of his contract over the past two seasons?

  29. Larry

    September 15, 2013 12:25 PM

    HK,

    Well 1st let me say that if you believe in sabermetrics which I do, but maybe not as 100% as you do, you have to be confused about Jimmy’s contract vs “Has he earned his contract so far?”

    If you believe Bill Baer’s evaluation of Jimmy’s contract based on rWAR you would say that he hasn’t earned his contract. If you go to Fangraphs and ask that same question, they would show he has almost earned his 1st two years just on last years WAR at 4.8 which they show was worth $21.6 mil. If you combine that with the 6 million they say he is worth this year so far you get $27.6 mil total which is well over the $22M. So they say yes he is worth it and outperforming his contract.

    I would tend to side with Bill and say he hasn’t so far, but not to the degree of using the statement for this year only:

    ” they could have plucked a John McDonald-type from free agency for the minimum salary ($490,000) and gotten the same production”

    As far as answering your question how I would evaluate it using more stats? I will post that a bit later, this Eagles game is distracting me. lol

  30. Matt

    September 15, 2013 02:29 PM

    This really comes down to bwar vs fwar. I don’t think it’s really fair to only mention bwar here. If you split the difference, the average of the two puts Rollins at an average of 2.1 War between last year and this year. That puts him close to where he needs to be for the Phillies to get their money back. With the way money is being spent, the 5 mil/win model may even be slightly outdated, so we might be coming out a little ahead on it. I really didn’t expect him to fall off to where he has so quickly, hopefully he bounces back next year.

  31. Josh G

    September 15, 2013 03:21 PM

    @hk

    I was unclear. I think that Galvis, given full PT, would be league average given his defense and could potentially accumulate 2 WAR. This is a magic number because it is what we expect from Rollins. In part time over the last 2 seasons Galvis’ bat shows improvement

    Galvis 2012: 200 PA .267 wOBA, .253 BABIP
    Galvis 2013: 201 PA .302 wOBA, .277 BABIP

    I include the BABIPs only to show that it has been low, but improving. His minor league stats show low BABIPs that improve (I assume as he adjusts to the level).

    Jeff T already pointed out the Simmons example of a light hitting shortstop.

  32. Larry

    September 15, 2013 04:35 PM

    OK sorry about that, I wanted to break that into 2 different posts anyway. That was quite an entertaining Eagles game, but unfortunately they fell short of the win.

    I was going to point out that if you use rWAR and fWAR in any of your debates, then taking the average of both would be a better method than just looking at 1. Now Matt just swooped in and pointed that out, beating me to the punch. Good job Matt!

    However, I might just use that as a base and go from there. What was Jimmy Rollins hired to do for 11 mil per year? Well IMO, it was to play ss and be a lead off hitter, or at least the 2 hole hitter. SS is a difficult position defensively. You need better range than the 3rd baseman and a stronger arm the the 2nd baseman. He has been just OK in the past 2 seasons, not bad, but not Jimmy Rollins like.

    A top of the order player needs a better OBP, OPS, and OPS+ to justify that spot. While the offense isn’t what it used to be, this exposes Jimmy more than ever.

    Some people have been very negative on this thread about Jimmy and probably believe that mathematically he has only achieved 11-14 mil of the 22 mil so far. being unbiased as I could, I would put him around 15-18 mil so far. There are intangibles which are tough to calculate. He has been a team leader, brings in ratings, sells T Shirts, and brings fans to the stadium. That last line sounds more like Chase Utley though, but it is still true for JRoll, who I am very critical of BTW.

    Guys like Robby Bonfire and Bubba have very valid points when it comes to JRoll’s attitude and selfish play which have cost the Phllies runs. There’s no way to calculate that intangible, but you have to take that in consideration as well.

    It’s a grey area when evaluating someone’s worth, but just because one WAR stat calculates it, it doesn’t mean it’s right. Especially when two WAR stats are so different and would contradict each other. Taking the average of both is better, but may not exactly be accurate. Injuries are also very hard to calculate when looking at one’s worth. I have to believe that contracts are given, figuring 10-15% of their playing time are lost to injury over the years.

    If this was a Ryan Howard evaluation in a healthy year, well he gets paid to hit HRs and have a good RISP, totally different from what I want from JRoll. Sorry if that’s too traditional for you.

  33. Larry

    September 15, 2013 04:58 PM

    One other point about Jimmy I forgot to mention was his base running abilities at the top of the lineup. Not just his steals, steal %, 1st to 3rd, or even scoring from 2nd on a single, it’s the intangible effect he has on pitchers when he is on base. Maybe he is a distraction to pitchers and they might pitch more fast balls to someone like Chase. Or maybe the pitcher loses concentration and gets rattled by a fast base runner….. But sadly he may have to be moved to the bottom of the order or even used a s a utility player if he doesn’t produce better in 2014.

  34. LTG

    September 15, 2013 05:43 PM

    RE: Galvis and Simmons

    The worry with Galvis is that, even with his increased power, his BABIP gains might be illusory. The typical indicators of better contact are missing. His FB% is up although his HR/FB% has remained the same. His IFFB% is way up. And his LD% (for what its worth) is down. Add to this the sharp increase in K% that follows a decrease in contact and increase in swinging strikes and we have reasons to be skeptical that Galvis is really a ~90 wRC+ going forward.

    Simmons, on the other hand, given his history, looks like he’s hitting below his potential. He’s better at making contact and had better BABIPs in the minors than Galvis.

    If Galvis can be a ~90 wRC+ SS, he will definitely be an above average SS. I just don’t think that is very likely. And the comp to Simmons doesn’t give any hope either because it merely establishes that a ~90 wRC+ SS with above average fielding is an above average SS. There isn’t enough similarity between the players to think that Galvis will play like Simmons.

  35. Dan M

    September 15, 2013 06:59 PM

    A bit confused by your graphic…you posted it after saying that Rollins is “by all accounts…having the worst defensive season of his career.” But aside from visually looking worse, the 2013 graphic indicates that the SS position gave up 2 more singles in 2013 while committing 6 less errors. Or to put it another way, the SS position recorded 1 more out in 2 fewer opportunities in 2013. So, by one account at least, isn’t his 2013 defense better than his 2012? Or perhaps more accurately, the graphic would indicate no statistically significant difference?

    Not trying to nitpick, it’s just that I’m coming to recognize that my “eye test” is virtually worthless when it comes to evaluating a player’s defense, so I’m starting to try to learn about some other methods of evaluation.

  36. Bill Baer

    September 15, 2013 07:16 PM

    Look at the distribution. In 2012, there are more hits shallow in the infield (which can be the fault of other infielders; based on luck). In 2013, there are more hits directly in the shortstop’s purview.

    Unfortunately, the database doesn’t give us any better way of isolating batted balls (e.g. all balls played by a SS).

  37. Bigred

    September 16, 2013 10:34 AM

    Any chance shifting rollins to 2b, Utley at 1st, Galvis at SS, and Asche at 3bfor next year?
    Yes, I’m assuming Howard stays injured,gets injured again, or just flat out is washed up. This could take advantage of rollins and utleys declining defensive range, sure Utleys bat doesn’t look as good being at first but does ruf/howard look much better?

  38. Matt

    September 16, 2013 05:44 PM

    Bigred – If Rollins could hit like he did last year, I would love that, But if he hits like he has this year, or drops off even worse next year…that could potentially be a terribly light hitting infield.

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