Jimmy Rollins talked the talk, but at least he’s walking the walk. The hot-hitting shortstop tops our short list of early season gamers and begs the question: Is it time to reinvent the lineup?
1) Jimmy Rollins, SS, (.298/.411/.766, 6 HR): The Phils find themselves 3-8 in part because of poor situational hitting. Otherwise, the offense is right there, including a league-best .376 on-base percentage. If the Phils could travel back in time and scramble the lineup, batting J-Roll behind Howard or some other combination, they might have an extra win or two. For now, J-Roll is all-world no matter where the Phillies bat him. His six homers lead the National League, but he hasn’t walked in his last four games and his on-base has actually been going down. Is it time to reinvent his role on the team as a three-four-five hitter?
2) Pat Burrell, LF, (.333/.455/.472): Pat the Bat has better all-around numbers than Ryan Howard and Chase Utley so far, and that .455 on-base is only points behind Howard even after four walks on Saturday. His base knocks and walks have been somewhat wasted hitting fifth because of the slow starts by Utley and Howard.
3) Antonio Alfonseca, RP (1.42 ERA, 6 1-3 IP, 1.26 WHIP, .190 BAA): I guess someone had to step up and show something in the bullpen. Right now, Alfonseca’s heavy sinker has been just what the doctor ordered these chilly spring days. Pulpo is still a big mystery; he could turn into Jose Mesa on a dime.
4 & 5) Aaron Rowand, CF (.342/.458/.368) & Carlos Ruiz, C (.310/.333/.483): Rowand and Ruiz are producing equal amounts but in opposite ways. Ruiz is slugging, Rowand is getting on base. The trend I like best is Rowand (.458 OBP), who appears to be taking a few more pitches. I’ve never been sure where Rowand should bat in the lineup, but if he’s determined to make pitchers work and reinvent himself, how about a tryout in the leadoff spot, or at the very least, swap him with Shane Victorino? As for Ruiz, I like him right where he is. Still an unknown, he can catch pitchers napping.