Top 25 Players to Ever Play a Game for the Phillies: No. 22, Jimmy Rollins

By Theo DeRosa, Sports Talk Philly staff

We continue our countdown of the top 25 players who have ever appeared in a game for the Philadelphia Phillies with No. 22. That's shortstop Jimmy Rollins, a key piece of the mid-2000s Phils core that brought the city of Philadelphia five straight division titles and, in Chase Utley's words, a "world f-ing champion(ship)."

Rollins set the table for the Phillies with speed and pop, cracking 231 career home runs, 216 of which came in red pinstripes. He stole 453 bases with the Phillies, 46 of which came in his first full season, leading the league. That year was 2001 — Rollins was named to the National League All-Star Team that year and the next, as well as in 2005. In 2007, he won the National League MVP award as the Phillies won the first of five straight East crowns. Rollins and double-play partner Utley were the faces of the franchise during a period of massive, sustained success.


Career Accomplishments

  • Played with the Phillies from 2000-2014
  • Three All-Star Game appearances (2001, 2002, 2005)
  • 2007 National League MVP
  • Four National League Gold Gloves at shortstop: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012
  • 2007 National League Silver Slugger at shortstop
  • 2007 NL leader in runs (139)
  • Four-time NL leader in triples (2001, 2002, 2004, 2007)
  • Phillies all-time hits leader
  • 2008 World Series champion

*Awards were not factored into the formula

Career-defining Moment

The double play that Rollins turned against the Washington Nationals in 2008 to clinch the National League East sticks out as a quintessential Jimmy Rollins moment. He dove to his left and flipped the ball to Chase Utley, who completed the 6-4-3 double play. The Phillies survived a bases-loaded jam for a one-run win, and, of course, went on to win the second World Series title in franchise history that October.

Reasoning for ranking

Rollins scored a 24 with our formula, second-lowest of anyone on the countdown (Ryan Howard, No. 25, was the lowest). Rollins' career WAR, per Baseball Reference, was 46, which put him at 2.7 average wins above replacement per year. 

He earned 12 points for his 12 two-win seasons (per Baseball Reference). His MVP season of 2007 was the only season that he had a WAR higher than five, as he came in at 6.1 (per Baseball Reference). That earned him three points. Rollins was tied for third in importance factor, coming in at nine points (out of 10) which tied him with Howard. Three more points come for Rollins' being in the top 75 all-time in doubles — he's 55th with 511. 

Managing editor Tim Kelly and historical columnist Matt Albertson, as explained below, reserved the right to bump players up the list as they saw fit. The two elected to move Rollins above Kenny Lofton and Roy Oswalt. 

Explanation of scientific formula

The player rankings formula combines both traditional and advanced statistics/metrics and assigns a point total to each category. 

First, single-season WAR is a primary factor in our rankings. According to Baseball Reference's WAR calculations, 2+ WAR is considered a starter, 5+ WAR is All-Star caliber, and 8+ WAR is MVP level. We totaled the number of seasons that a player performed at a 2+ WAR, 5+ WAR, and 8+ WAR level and assigned a set point value for each category, (+1), (+3), and (+5) respectively. For example, in 1980, Mike Schmidt complied an 8.8 WAR. This was counted as a 2+ WAR season, a 5+ WAR season, and an 8+ WAR season. So, for 1980 alone, Mike Schmidt earned nine points for WAR. 
Next, we assigned point values for being among the top 25, top 50, top 100, and top 200 all-time in particular statistical categories, such as batting average, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, home runs, and OPS for hitters; and ERA, wins, and WHIP, FIP, BB/9, H/9, and K/9 for pitchers. 
Finally, all statistical categories were totaled up using our point based system and ranked accordingly, with historical columnist Matt Albertson and managing editor Tim Kelly reserving the right to move players up the list, within reason, based on an "importance" factor. A player will score higher in this subjective category if his acquisition corresponded with a great team career or if they contributed to the club's rebuild or playoff run. A player will score lower if their career didn't correspond with a particularly good season(s) or with a playoff run. It will also be low if this player was traded by the club and became one of the best players in the game after the trade, thus negatively effecting the club's performance or extending a rebuild. An explanation of why a player is ranked in a certain spot will be provided, as will an overall score breakdown.
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