Analysis: Timing Makes Rollins A .179 Hitter – Phillies Nation

Analysis: Timing Makes Rollins A .179 Hitter

This season hasn’t yet been kind to our fair shortstop, Jimmy Rollins. Let’s dive into the numbers and see where he might be going wrong:

Rollins’ biggest crux seems to be swinging as a right-handed hitter. He’ll do this when facing a left-handed pitcher. Those numbers: 14 AB / 1 H. The hit was a single, and was a pitch thrown right down the turnpike. Now, this is a small sample size, of course.

As a left-handed hitter he also hasn’t had great success. Those numbers: 42 AB / 9 H (1 HR, 2 2B). The home run was a pitch down the turnpike that he pulled into right field. He’s had his best success with pitches outside the zone, which would normally signify he’s probably late on breaking pitches, driving them the other way for hits. However, that’s not the case. Almost all of Rollins hits are up the middle; one hit was pulled into shallow outfield for a hit; one was hit the other way down the left field line.

Interestingly, his metrics are in line with career numbers. He’s swinging at pitches outside the zone at the same rate (19 percent this year) as usual; he’s actually swinging at pitches inside the strike zone at normal rates; moreover, his contact rates are right on. He has struck out seven times so far, putting him in line for approximately 85 strikeouts, which is close to his normal total.

So why is Rollins hitting .179?

Chris Wheeler noted that Rollins was seeing more breaking pitches than usual this season. This is true: he has seen 5 percent more sliders and 3 percent more curve balls; conversely, Rollins has seen 2 percent fewer changeups. This may not seem like a huge difference, but it is: Seeing just a few more breaking balls, and early in counts, will throw off a hitter. Especially Rollins, who enjoys locking in on first-pitch fastballs sometimes. Since he’s swinging at normal rates, making contact at normal rates and yet showing poor results, the issue, of course, is timing. He’s minutely off.

Minute is important. He is making contact, but he’s swinging slightly too early, expecting fastball but instead, making contact with a breaking pitch as it falls on its second motion. That induces the weak ground ball to a slider, or the weak pop up to a curveball.

What’s the solution? Rollins has to keep swinging; the swing will lock in once he gets a feel for the pitches he’s seeing. If he’s milliseconds off the slider and curve, he’s close enough to rectifying, he just has to adapt. Taking a few pitches wouldn’t hurt, either, but if Rollins is to be a main cog in the offensive production come midseason, he has to keep attempting to get on base via the hit. It’s the best bet for the team.

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  1. Georgie

    April 23, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Charlie told Jimmy to get in the batting cage and hit “until you’re blue in the face or somethin'”. Did Jimmy do that? should that help him? I honestly don’t know, as I’ve never spent any time in a batting cage, but is that the solution? Or is Jimmy just saving himself for a playoff run again?

  2. Chutley

    April 23, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Glad us front runners arent jumping on his back

  3. Chooch's Cooches

    April 23, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I agree with Chutley. Georgie, it could be the solution, it could not. Maybe he needs a few days away from the cage (I remember someone doing that last year, might have been Jimmy or Ryan I think). Maybe he needs to have one good game to get his confidence up. Hopefully Charlie knows best.

  4. Albert

    April 23, 2009 at 11:01 am

    We are jumping on his back actually. He has been bad, really bad so far. I did notice him try and work some counts last night, which is encouraging.

  5. Don M

    April 23, 2009 at 11:30 am

    3-for-10 the past two games.. 4-for-11 counting the pinch-hit HR appearance.

    His average has gone up each game in the past 6 games.. with only 1 strikeout in that time..

    Is he tearing the cover off the ball? No.

    Is he making contact, but hitting it right at defenders? Yea.

    He’ll come around.. I feel like if he doesn’t get 2 or 3 hits a game, people are going to jump on him

  6. Bruce

    April 23, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Tim has it right. It’s a matter of adjusting and timing. Pitchers are always looking for ways to upset the hitter’s timing. Perhaps there is also a need to level his swing more (less uppercuting). Whenever Rollins has a slump that’s the first thing I noticed with his swing. That part is usually resolved in the batting cage.

  7. Mark

    April 23, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Very well researched. I agree with the article.

  8. louie hates jroll

    April 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I never liked this idiot, no regard to management. Two good years in his time here. Who cares. He is a thug…..

  9. Chutley

    April 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Albert we’re not jumpin on his back. We’re gonna notice if our leader is batting 150 but we’re not calling for him to be traded and for them to call up Donald. Wait why aren’t we? Have Philly fans gone soft?

  10. Don M

    April 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I like how people pay no attention to the fact that he’s the best DEFENSIVE player at the most demanding DEFENSE-first position in baseball..

    well, maybe second after Catcher..

    But all people seem to care about is when JRoll and Ruiz aren’t hitting .350.. that they aren’t any good

    If we stopped pretending it was getting close to the All-Star break already, we’d realize that 12 games into a season still means LOTS of baseball to play, and a 3-hit game can boost your Batting Average by like .050

  11. OZ

    April 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    louie – pretty strong words “He is a thug”…..can u support that?

    otherwise, that’s too far. his defense is great and he’s performed a lot more than he has not over the years. its not even May yet.

  12. Willy

    April 23, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    where do you get the individual pitch stats? like 5% more sliders? thats pretty impressive.

  13. Bruce

    April 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Why dignify Louie’s inane comments with your own?

  14. Georgie

    April 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    louie,louie, fofo-ie, banana-bana bo-boie, me,my,mo-mo-ie LOUIE! you are either a Mets fan or a frontrunner, either way, shut your pie-hole!

  15. U Gotta Believe

    April 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    A thug…do you even know what the definition of a thug is? So i guess you think Wayne Brady is ghetto too?

  16. Georgie

    April 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Bruce, I find it hard to be dignified when someone says something that ignorant.

  17. Chase Mutley

    April 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    It’s not the first time I’ve said it but Jimmy’s got a lot of D-Mac in him. The *smart* people in this town appreciate all of the positives he has brought to this team and this city. He’s very talented at his sport and his position. He’s won an MVP and brought us a Championship. He’s great off the field, stays out of troubles, does charitable events, and (for the most part) has said nothing but good things about the city.

    However, being the face of the team, he gets a lot of heat that he wouldn’t otherwise. When Chase struggles it’s not as magnified cuz he does he best to fly under the radar. Unfortunately, that just comes with the territory. You want all eyes you, you want to make predictions, you want to mouth off to New York, you want the Dick’s commercial? Then you have to take the bad with the good.

    This is a tough city. We want to see struggling athletes as frustrated at themselves as we are with them. New York is like this (they don’t call it “the Bronx cheer” for nothing). Boston is like this too. We want to see Brad Lidge cursing after he’s blown a save, we want to see Brian Dawkins crying after they lose a playoff game. Philadelphia will always have a hard time embracing players like Jimmy or Donovan who are all smiles, all the times or that shrug off failures with “Don’t sweat it, it’ll turn around.” You can fault us and you can’t fault them. It’s just the way it is. Smart people understand that.

    Jimmy’ll turn it around. Of that I’m sure. You don’t just drop off a cliff as a player after all that he’s accomplished. It’s just waiting patiently while he does that some will find hard.

  18. Manny

    April 23, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    I completely agree, Chase Mutley.

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