J-Roll: Here We Go Again

High five buddy! - Christian Petersen

Jimmy Rollins has been a slow starter for much of his career. It looks like we're seeing the same pattern this year.

One of the contributing factors to the Phillies struggling offense has been Jimmy Rollins. He currently has a disappointing .255/.304/.382 triple slash line, good for a .686 OPS. That line is off the pace of last year's .250/.316/.427 (OPS .743), though not by that much.

A week ago though, Rollins was doing even worse. Through May 7, Rollins was hitting .234/.288/.344 for a paltry .632 OPS. In other words, Rollins was having a very slow start.

Does this sound familiar to you? If you've followed the Phillies for Rollins' entire career, if you read this site, or if you read our annual this winter, it should be. Rollins has been a slow starter for most of his career, and it's right about now that he picks things up.

Last year, I wrote about this, comparing Rollins' first month-plus to the rest of the season. Here's the chart I published in that article. The chart has Rollins' past full seasons (2001 through 2011, excluding 2010 which was injury riddled for the first several months). The first column is the date of his lowest May OPS, the second is his OPS on that date, the third is his season ending OPS, and the fourth is the change from the May low to the end of the season (colored from dark red (worst) to dark green (best)).

Date Low OPS End OPS Change
2001 May 1 0.586 0.743 0.157
2002 May 1 0.790 0.686 -0.104
2003 May 30 0.720 0.707 -0.013
2004 May 6 0.503 0.803 0.300
2005 May 11 0.622 0.770 0.148
2006 May 26 0.661 0.811 0.150
2007 May 24 0.800 0.875 0.075
2008 May 13 0.800 0.786 -0.014
2009 May 10 0.499 0.719 0.220
2011 May 30 0.686 0.736 0.050

2012 continued this pattern. His May-low OPS was after the May 4 game. After that game, his OPS was .525. From May 5 through the end of the season, he had a .786 OPS, good for an incredible increase of .261.

Over the off-season, I did a similar calculation, but instead of choosing Rollins' lowest May OPS as the comparison date, I chose the 40th game of each season, roughly 1/4 of the way into the season. That chart is pretty similar.

OPS 40 OPS 40+ Change
2001 0.646 0.773 0.127
2002 0.851 0.628 -0.223
2003 0.739 0.695 -0.044
2004 0.584 0.867 0.283
2005 0.630 0.814 0.184
2006 0.678 0.851 0.173
2007 0.877 0.875 -0.002
2008 0.800 0.874 0.074
2009 0.635 0.747 0.112
2011 0.729 0.739 0.010
2012 0.578 0.798 0.220
Average 0.704 0.787 0.083

It seems we're in the midst of the exact same thing this year. Comparing two dates that are the same, last year, on May 7, Rollins stood at .231/.278/.274 with 0 home runs, 6 stolen bases, and a .552 OPS. After that date, he hit .254/.324/.462 with 23 home runs, 24 stolen bases, and a .786 OPS.

This year, on May 7, his .234/.288/.344 line was accompanied by 1 home run and 3 stolen bases. In the 7 games since then, Rollins has a .345/.375/.552 line with 1 home run, 1 stolen base, and a 927 OPS.

In other words, it sure looks like he's doing it again.*

*All of the usual caveats apply. Small sample size since May 7. Past performance trends are no guarantee of future performance. Aging affects everyone. If it lasts more than four hours, see a doctor. Etc. etc.

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