Jimmy Rollins is on his way out as the leadoff hitter in Philly. Abreu should be taking over soon and will be the best leadoff man in the majors, hands down. i just posted a long post in another topic but feel its relative here too.
Jimmy Rollins has never been a prototypical leadoff hitter. He doesnt walk, he doesnt take pitches, he doesnt work pitchers. He constantly is hitting the ball in the air and swinging at the first pitch. Before his ridiculous hitting streak last season Rollins was hitting in the .250's. And this wasnt just a few games. This was about 120 games into the season. Larry Bowa moved Rollins out of the leadoff spot numerous times before Charlie Manuel took over. The problem was that the best leadoff hitter on the team refused to move out of the 3rd hole because he was afraid his rbi and overall power numbers would suffer. The player im speaking of is Bobby Abreu. It wasnt really made that big a deal since Abreu was needed to hit 3rd with the lack of run producers in the phillies order. NOW the phillies have a prototypical 3 hitter in Chase Utley and there has been plenty of talk here in philadelphia that Rollins needs to moved out of the leadoff spot. Charlie's Manuel's response to this (2 days ago) and that i want to see what Jimmy Rollins can do. (as if he hasnt hit leadoff for the past 5 seasons. So 1 day later Shane Victorino is leading off. Oh ok, the phillies have a new leadoff hitter in Victorino. Not so fast. Aaron Rowand returns from the DL on saturday and will send Victorino back to his occasional pinch hitting/running and late inning defensive replacement duties. Only until very recently has Abreu said he would now be ok moving into the leadoff spot (a week ago he said that he didnt want to talk about the topic). So now one can only assume Victorino will leadoff in tomorrow's night game and that Abreu will hit leadoff on Saturday.
As for Rollins's value...i would have to say that his rbi's are going to go up fairly significantly if he starts hitting 2nd or 6th. if he hits 2nd, he's going to have the chance to hit behind abreu who is on base about 42 % of the time. in this spot, Rollins' other numbers should stay relatively similar but anyone expecting a .290 avg is kidding themselves. Rollins will hit around .270-.275 with 10-15 hr and 30 sb. The phils dont really seem to run that much under Manuel and with Rollins hitting 2nd, i doubt he'll be risking getting thrown out with Utley, Burrell, and Howard up to bat. While i do predict Rollins getting his 30 sb, i could easily see it being 20-25. The real difference in value is going to be Abreu. Already a great run scorer, this number is going to go up with the added at bats but his rbi's should sag as well. Utley's rbi's should go up a smidge though picking up for Abreu's slack. Victorino will be a bench player, and Rowand will be getting alot of RBI opportunities in the 6 hole and all you Howard owners dont have to worry about him hitting 6th or 7th anymore. he should be firmly planted in the 5 hole for the rest of the season.
EDIT----there is now talk about Rowand taking the leadoff spot, but i dont really see that happening.
Shane Victorino wrote:“We keep fighting,” Victorino said. “We keep plugging along.”