Philly shortstop needs bat to match swagger

Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins is a marvelous defensive shortstop who had three hits against the Marlins on Tuesday, but he needs to improve upon his .314 on-base percentage.

Updated: September 17, 2003, 11:25 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins is a marvelous defensive shortstop -- light of feet and soft of hands, with a strong and accurate arm. He gives the Phillies their $450,000 worth in durability alone, showing up ready to play through heat, boos, fatigue and the annual midsummer apathy that precedes the start of Eagles camp.

Jimmy Rollins
Getty ImagesJimmy Rollins is not off to a productive start this season.
But stick a bat in Rollins' hands and he acts as if his cornrows are braided too tight. Scouts and stat freaks, who disagree on everything, both like undersized shortstops who put the ball in play and use their speed. Three years into his major league career, Rollins has 327 strikeouts and 151 walks. His .314 on-base percentage this season is worse than teammate Pat Burrell's .316, and Burrell has been slumping since April.

On his bad days, Rollins is exasperation in a 5-8, 165-pound package.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer