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Will World Baseball Classic Impact Jimmy Rollins’ Game?

With the World Baseball Classic well underway, and with no one — not even in the nation of the reigning champs — seeming to care, many Philadelphians have begun wondering again, Why, oh why, is Jimmy Rollins participating?

 

After all, Rollins performed notoriously poorly in 2009, after his last appearance. He worked a horrid .250 batting average and a career-low .296 on-base percentage.

 

But it’s worth noting, Rollins may have been a bit unlucky. As seamheads will tell you, a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) that varies greatly from a hitter’s career average, be it for a month or a year, suggests sour luck is (partly) to blame.

 

That season, Rollins had a .251 BABIP. In the years prior, he had, starting in 2008, a .290, .300, .281, .309, .308, .308, .275, .308. I know.

 

It may have affected his game in other ways. His 2009 strikeout rate swelled a percentage point to 9.7% and his walk rate dropped by nearly three, to 6.1%.

 

And while there’s no documented correlation, that Rollins suffered a calf injury — sometimes an overuse thing — in 2010 scares the pants off some people.

 

Though that was a year after. Since, he’s only missed 24 games.

 

For sure, there’s a risk. (And considering Rollins is well-fed with a deal that owes $26 million more, to him, he has the luxury of taking one in the name of patriotism.)

 

Just not based on past performance.

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