Taking a look back at 2010 and trying to project what will happen in 2011 is what we do at Fanball. To that end, Ted Carlson has been sending out assignments for the staff to rank our top options at each position for the 2011 season. Today, I’ll defend my rankings for the Top-10 Shortstops for 2011 an explain why I ranked Jimmy Rollins ahead of Jose Reyes.
For the other reviews in this series, click on the following links.
ROLLINS vs. REYES
I was the only voter on staff who listed Rollins ahead of Reyes as the Mets’ shortstop was listed third on everyone else’s ballot (I had Reyes 4th). Moreover, Rollins fell to as low as 7th in the staff voting. Here is my defense of my selection of Rollins over Reyes.
(1) Both players were injured in 2010 limiting their production (Reyes appeared in 133 games, Rollins 88). While injuries have bogged down Reyes the last two years – he appeared in only 36 games in 2009 – Rollins had appeared in at least 137 games in each of the previous nine seasons, an in fact he had appeared in at least 154 games in eight of those nine seasons. He clearly has a durability advantage over Reyes.
(2) Not only am I concerned about Reyes’ ability to stay on the field, I’m really concerned about his ability to be an elite base stealer because of his physical maladies. From 2005-08 Reyes never stole fewer than 56 bags, but over his last 169 games he has swiped a mere 41 bases. There is no disputing that he has more upside in the steal category than Rollins, but there is a massive difference in fantasy value if you are stealing 60 bases or 40. As for Rollins, he swiped 17 bases in half a season which put him on pace for what would have been a 7th straight season of at least 30 thefts.
(3) Since 2005, Reyes’ first full season in the bigs, he has scored 554 runs, the 17th most run in the game. In that time he also appeared in 802 games. As for Rollins, he appeared in 55 more games but scored 51 more runs scored for a total of 605, the 8th best mark in the game.
(4) Power – this is where Reyes takes a back seat to Rollins. Reyes has never hit more than 19 homers in a season, and since 2005 he has averaged 13 homers a year (if we remove his 36 games ’09 campaign). Rollins has hit 25 or more homers twice in his career, and since 2005 he has averaged 20 homers a year (if we remove his 88 game effort in 2010). That’s a pretty substabtial advantage for Rollins, about 35 percent worth.
(5) Neither man is a wonder when it comes to getting on base. In fact, a strong arguement could be put forward that neither man should actually be a leadoff hitter because, despite their speed, neither gets on base very well – Reyes owns a career OBP of .335 while Rollins is slightly lower at .328. For some perspective, the NL average since 2000, the first year of Rollins career, is .332. Face it, both of these men have ample skills, but getting on base isn’t one of them. To state it another way, unless they play everyday, and hit at the top their club’s batting order, their runs scored totals could lag because of their inability to get on base.
Let’s boil this down to 162 game efforts for each man. Here are their career marks.
Reyes has the advantage if the he can return to his previous levels of thievery, but I’m just not sure he will be able to in 2011.
By Ray Flowers