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2009 Projection: Jimmy Rollins

2009 projections continue with six today. Make yours in the comments.

Jimmy Rollins, SS (SWB)
Age: 30

2008: 556 AB / 76 R / 11 HR / 59 RBI / 58 BB / 55 SO / 47 SB / .277 AVG / .349 OBP / .437 SLG

Summary: One year after a spectacular MVP season, I predicted Jimmy Rollins would hit an injury wall in 2008 — he did. An ankle injury took him out for a month, while his numbers dwindled as a result. His counting numbers were eerily lower even with the injury, while his averages took a similar hit — although his on-base percentage improved. The main offensive facet that showed promise was his speed and on-base skills; in a way Rollins became a more consummate leadoff hitter, but he’s still not there. Defensively, however, Rollins had his best season yet, winning a Gold Glove with his best career range factor and a low seven errors at shortstop. Though his offensive year was debatably his worst, his defense turned his season into a career-norm season for Rollins.

Career Level: Prime (Year 3)

Green Flags: The on-base numbers are tremendous, especially a career high 1.05 BB/K ratio. … The 47 theives were a career high, and he was only caught three times. … Rollins’ fly ball rates decreased to 30.6 percent (from 44.2 percent in 2007) while his line drive and ground ball rates were either the best or second best of his career.

Red Flags:
Once a man is injured, his flag turns red, though Rollins showed no problems once in September and beyond. … Rollins’ power died completely for much of 2008, way down from his 2007 career bests, with his slugging mark dropping almost 100 points.

Prognostication: From what Rollins showed in 2008, it’s possible he’s turning into a smarter baseball player. He’s taking pitches, getting on base, working the basepaths. Look for 2009 to be similar to that 2008 trend, but with an even higher on-base mark and a slightly better slugging mark. Yes the walk totals are higher than anything expected, but being radical here isn’t too much of a stretch.

2009 Projection: 652 AB / 113 R / 16 HR / 71 RBI / 78 BB / 71 SO / 39 SB / .291 AVG / .361 OBP / .440 SLG

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