According to reports, manager Ryne Sandberg is very pleased with shortstop Jimmy Rollins in the leadoff spot. Rollins may remain the club’s leadoff hitter even after center fielder Ben Revere returns from injury. The inference comes after Sandberg complimented J-Rol after yesterday’s 8-3 win against the Reds:
“I like Jimmy in the leadoff spot. Right now he has a real good approach up there, as far as hitting for average, and he looks just real patient working the pitchers and taking walks.”
Rollins is hitting .262/.359/.428 with 5 HR and 5 SB. J-Rol’s plate discipline is the best that it has been, well, ever, as his .359 OBP would be a career-high should he finish the season at that level. Rollins’ fast start has made him baseball’s 24th most valuable hitter and the second most valuable shortstop.
Analysis: Sandberg noted that Revere was battling the stomach flu and was unable to play Friday and Saturday. After a solid first few weeks, Revere has played like one of the league’s worst regular center fielders. Among the 22 MLB center fielders with 140 PAs, Revere ranks 21st in fWAR, 12th in batting average but 19th in OBP, 21st in slugging, and 21st in OPS.
While Revere has struggled, he still remains the Phillies’ best option in center, both short and long term. Tyson Gillies is hitting just .228/.301/.315 for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in center field and Revere’s career numbers outpace both John Mayberry Jr. and Tony Gwynn Jr. I do think, however, the Phillies should play the hot hand and continue to hit Rollins in the lead-off spot and let Revere build some confidence at the back end of the line-up.