While the Phillies lineup is likely a work in progress, Manuel seems locked in on Jimmy Rollins being the team's leadoff hitter. The Phils skipper believes Rollins is one of the best top of the order hitters in baseball.
Rollins appears set to hit leadoff for Phils
Manuel believes Rollins is one of the best leadoff men in baseball.
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(Photo: Eric Hartline/US Presswire)
(Photo: Eric Hartline/US Presswire)
http://phillies.scout.com/story/1261008-rollins-appears-set-to-hit-leadoff-for-phils
FightinsFuture.com
Jan 25, 2013

Rollins appears set to hit leadoff for Phils

(Photo: Eric Hartline/US Presswire)

While the Phillies lineup is likely a work in progress, Manuel seems locked in on Jimmy Rollins being the team's leadoff hitter. The Phils skipper believes Rollins is one of the best top of the order hitters in baseball.

To say that Charlie Manuel has a lot of respect for shortstop Jimmy Rollins is only repeating the obvious. For his part, Manuel believes that Rollins is one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball and it doesn't sound like he's ready to make any lineup changes that would move Rollins out of that spot.

"Rollins is one of the best run producers in baseball and I don't have to say anymore about it, really. I should have been telling people that five or six years ago." said Manuel. "All you have to do is look at the stats. Baseball is a stats game; look at the runs he knocks in and look at the runs he scores and compare them to anybody you want to. [Mike] Trout had a better season last year, but he's the only guy."

Last season, Rollins scored 102 runs and drove in 68 on the season. Over his career, Rollins has averaged 107 runs scored and 72 RBI for every 162 games that he's played.

Millville, NJ's Mike Trout scored a major league high 129 runs and drove in 83 last year on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year title.

Rollins has spent the majority of his career as a leadoff hitter and has a career average of .273 with a .332 on-base average hitting at the top of the lineup.

Had Manuel made his comments years ago as he lamented, he would have had much better numbers to back up his statement. From 2005-2007, Rollins averaged 122 runs and 72 RBI per season as a leadoff man. In 2007, Rollins led the majors in games (162), plate appearances (778), and at-bats (716) and led the National League in runs (139) and Triples (20).

The only other option in the Phillies lineup who would be able to stake much of a claim to the leadoff spot would be newly acquired Ben Revere, but Manuel isn't sure exactly what he's got in Revere.

"Last year, he hit second and scored 70 runs and knocked in 30. I'm anxious to see him hit. I haven't seen him a whole lot," said Manuel of his new center fielder, who he believes will add a lot to his team defensively.

Manuel said that he plans on trying different combinations in spring training and that he really only has Ryan Howard marked for a specific spot in the lineup, which would be fourth.

One thing Manuel wants to accomplish is to come up with a lineup that will bunch some of his better baserunners together, hoping to take advantage of their abilities.

"I want to have our guys who can go first-to-third or second-to-home and play action baseball; I want them together, as much as possible," explained the 69-year old Phillies manager.

Jimmy Rollins' career stats as a leadoff hitter

I Year G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
2000 10 46 3 14 1 0 0 5 2 1 6 .304 .319 .326
2001 64 261 45 72 14 5 7 17 15 27 45 .276 .346 .448
2002 93 395 48 99 24 9 8 38 17 33 62 .251 .309 .418
2003 64 280 42 75 16 3 3 26 7 19 49 .268 .314 .379
2004 114 498 93 149 35 11 13 64 19 45 56 .299 .360 .492
2005 154 669 114 192 38 11 11 53 40 47 70 .287 .337 .426
2006 152 670 125 188 45 8 25 82 36 57 79 .281 .338 .484
2007 139 622 128 187 33 17 30 81 33 43 73 .301 .350 .553
2008 127 526 75 148 37 9 11 58 44 56 53 .281 .354 .449
2009 145 640 93 157 43 5 18 71 30 42 70 .245 .292 .413
2010 72 294 41 71 13 3 7 35 13 35 26 .241 .322 .378
2011 108 454 70 121 17 2 15 58 25 42 45 .267 .331 .412
2012 133 553 93 141 30 5 23 64 25 58 81 .255 .325 .452
Career Total 1375 5908 970 1614 346 88 171 652 306 505 715 .273 .332 .448
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/25/2013.