There are certain types of players in fantasy that drive us all crazy. The most maddening of all might be the inconsistent hitter who vanishes for long stretches of time but is able to catch fire and carry your whole offense. Sure, the month or so the player is hitting the cover off the ball is nice, but the dead weight in between can be tough to handle.
No one better epitomized that player last season than Jimmy Rollins.
For the first two months of the season Rollins was virtually useless. He hit .238/.292/.303 with two home runs and just 10 extra base hits overall, though he did steal 10 bases. In late May own Michael Barr wrote an extensive piece detailing just how bad Rollins had been. His ISO was way down and swinging strikeout rate was over twelve percent, a career high. His overall strikeout percentage was seven percent higher than 2011. And then June happened.
He hit .303. His HR/FB percentage spiked to 15.8. He slugged .580. This wasn’t the Jimmy Rollins of old, this was more Tulowitzki-like than anything. That type of production from a shortstop is amazing. The highs of June quickly fell into the doldrums of July and August. He hit .210/.279/.396, though his August included twelve extra base hits and seven steals. As the calendar turned to September Rollins started heating up again.
He bashed eight home runs and scored twenty-four runs, the third most in baseball that month. He finished the month with a .913 OPS, joining June as his only months above .700. As Dave Cameron pointed out, Rollins’ 40 games played in June and September accounted for much of his season’s total production. Look at the table below.
Runs XBH RBI
June/Sept 44 29 33
ROY 58 32 35
That’s a sizeable chunk of production. He finished the season atop our rankings valued at $22, up $2 from 2011. Not bad for a 33-year-old. Had he played better in the other four months he’d have been one of the best players in all of fantasy. That’s a lot to expect, but even average production in April and May could have put him in the conversation.
That brings me back to my original point. The end of season numbers look good — 23 HR, 102 R, 68 RBI, 30 SB – but how they were accumulated was grating. If given the choice I’d have rather owned a more consistent performer, a player who’s season totals may not be as high but won’t have the deep valleys that Rollins did in 2012.
Going into his age 34 season, if Rollins legs hold up and he’s able to maintain his above average contact rate he should be amongst the better performers at his positions once more. Let’s just hope it’s a smoother ride this time around.
Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.