Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins Needs To Be the Cataylst Again in 2011

January 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

Philadelphia fans waited all year for it in 2010, but it never came.  Despite an offense that collectively slumped, they managed to maintain the league’s overall best record with 97 wins.  The “it” that I’m referring to is production from shortstop Jimmy Rollins. 

It’s clear that where Rollins goes, so too does the offense.  In 2010, Rollins struggled with injuries and hit just .243.  This was critical and had a lasting effect on the offense as they had a “down” year.  This just further proves the point that Rollins is the catalyst of this offense. 

The story will again be the same in 2011. This offense will live and die by Rollins’ production.  In hitting out of the lead-off spot, Rollins must be the sparkplug if the Phillies are to succeed.  

Certainly their pitching could be historic, but they can’t rely on pitching alone.  The offense now needs to have a bounce-back year collectively.  That’s right!  As a group, the Phillies’ offense didn’t deliver from one through eight.  This 2011 season will be very telling for the futures of many on this team as the expectations are the highest in team history. 

Manager Charlie Manuel knows his players better than any manager in baseball.  That being said, he also knows that his lineup can hit much better than they did in 2010.  Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. are calling on Rollins to produce big numbers this year or his tenure as a Phillie may end. 

When called on to perform, Rollins always seems to live up to the task.  His 2007 MVP season, which mind you is far in the rear-view mirror, is proof of that.  The undersized Rollins was “the man” in Philadelphia and had himself a huge season.  Rollins did all the things his coaches had always guided him to do and he finally “got it.” 

You see, in the beginning Rollins was portrayed as having an “attitude.”  While many within the organization disliked this, there was no denying his talent level.  To Rollins though, this wasn’t attitude but rather “swag.”

His transformation into a consistent lead-off hitter took quite a while but eventually paid off in full.  By 2007, at just 28 years old, Rollins had taken his game to the next level.

The Phillies would go on to win the 2008 World Series but Rollins was lost among talented sluggers like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  Rollins has often been forgotten over the past few seasons since. 

Obviously 2007 was a banner year for J-Roll; one that he won’t be able to duplicate.  He set many career highs and upped the standards of the model two-way shortstop.  Additionally, Rollins led the league with 20 triples, 716 at-bats, 139 runs scored and played in all 162 games, plus the playoffs.  For that season at least, he was the toast of shortstops and the MLB in general. 

This is a contract year for Rollins, thus another call for the multi-faceted shortstop to shine.  He’s still appreciated as an elite defensive shortstop but needs to regain his swing and “swag.”  Now seen as a part of the veteran core, Rollins must prove to everyone that he’s worthy of a new contract. 

Whether it’s his traditional lead-off spot or not, Rollins must find ways to produce.  To be quite frank, no matter where he hits in the lineup, he always seems to be the catalyst.  Rollins needs to be there to give this offense that extra oomph.  With his leading the way, the group can return to form and make 2011 a year to remember.

Jimmy Rollins has the ability to wow each of us on any given day.  Whether it’d be with his bat, arm or legs, he can definitely do just that.  So go ahead Jimmy.  Wow us again!

With the Phillies’ recent pitching rotation, people tend to forget just how good this offense can be.  Rollins needs to be a large part of that in 2011.  If he is, the Phillies might be riding on the back of those flatbed trucks into a sea of joy down South Broad St. come October. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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