"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.