Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rollins Band

Well, they did it, so good for them. I said they wouldn't, or couldn't, or didn't really want to, but they did, so bad for me. I rooted against them all year, and cackled with glee whenever they lost, but it didn't matter. They went out on the field and won.

You can pick apart the way they did it, and take some satisfaction in some of the spectacular, but entirely predictable, failures along the way. Wes Helms sucked, just like I said. Adam Eaton sucked, just like I said, and he isn't even on the playoff roster. Pat Burrell was more than OK, just like I said. Jamie Moyer was up and down, just like I said. Jayson Werth helped, just like I said. Rod Barajas didn't, so I missed on that one. Antonio Alfonseca pitched way too much, but they survived anyway. Freddy Garcia got hurt, and so did Jon Lieber, but they were able to find guys to mostly pick up the slack.

They won because their stars -- Utley, Howard, Hamels and Rollins -- played like stars, even though the first three missed time with injuries. They won because the Mets spit the bit. And they won because Charlie Manuel had the stones to play the guys who produced, and sit the guys who didn't, regardless of their paychecks, egos, reputations, or whatever. He still gets bashed a lot for his in-game strategizing, but he commanded the respect of the team and made the personnel moves he had to make. Good for him.

So, to the horror bemusement of some, he will undoubtedly return next year, and he might even be voted Manager of the Year this year.

Not only that, Jimmy Rollins might win the MVP. This started as a whisper among the Philadelphia Daily News guys sometime in August and has picked up steam to the point where he's probably the favorite. Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark and Tom Verducci, probably the three most influential baseball writers in the country, all say he's their choice.

I would like to oppose the notion that Rollins is the MVP, but I can't get too worked up about it. He's probably not really a bad choice at all. Look around the National League.
  • The most devastating offensive force in the game is (still) Barry Bonds, but he doesn't play every day, and he's now a craptacular defender at an easy position. Plus, the Giants suck.
  • Albert Pujols deservedly finishes in the top 5 every year, but he had a so-so year by his standards, and the Cardinals tanked.
  • Chipper Jones had a good year, but he's not going to win it.
  • David Wright was just as good, but nobody on the Mets is going to win anything after their collapse.
  • Prince Fielder hit 50 home runs, leading the Brewers into surprising contention. But he didn't really do anything else -- he made more errors at first base than Rollins did at shortstop -- and the Brewers faded at the end.
  • Jake Peavy was great, but the writers stopped giving the MVP to starting pitchers a long time ago.
So it's going to come down to Rollins or Matt Holliday. Really, either one would be fine. Holliday has prettier offensive numbers, but (a) he's an outfielder, and (b) he plays in Coors Field. He led the league in RBI, and the writers love that, but they're also dazzled by Rollins' 20-20-20, 30-30, etc. etc. across the board act. Rollins' rate stats are only marginal for an MVP candidate. He put up big totals because he batted more than anyone -- not just this season, but ever. He also led the league in outs. But there's real value in playing every day, and he was at least as good on the bases and in the field as he was at the plate. He's credited with 28 Win Shares, which is only tied for 6th in the league, but well within sight of the guys ahead of him.

Rollins said before the season that the Phillies would win, and he's perceived as one of their leaders, especially with Utley and Howard missing time with injuries. It ain't bragging if you can do it. He did it. They did it.

1 comment:

PSoTD said...

I wouldn't really call it horror, more like bemusement.