Hall of Fame 2022: Phillies legend, NL MVP Jimmy Rollins debuts on ballot. Was he good enough?

Jesse Yomtov
USA TODAY

With the 2022 Baseball Hall of Fame class set to be announced on Jan. 25, USA TODAY Sports is breaking down the candidacies of some of the top players on the ballot. 

Fans can fight about who was the "heart and soul" on the Philadelphia Phillies’ last World Series championship team, but shortstop Jimmy Rollins was a sparkplug and leader for a club that won five consecutive division championships and two National League pennants.

Making his debut on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in 2022, Rollins presents an interesting case – and one that voters will no doubt be closely analyzing in the years to come.

Rollins was an All-Star as a 22-year-old rookie in 2001 and developed into one of the game’s best all-around shortstops, winning four Gold Glove awards in his 17-year career.

After making a bold declaration before the 2007 season that the Phillies were the "team to beat," Rollins went out and won the NL MVP award in 2007, the only player in history to hit 30 home runs with 40 steals and 20 triples in a single season.

Jimmy Rollins won the NL MVP award in 2007.

That NL East title snapped the Phillies’ 14-year postseason drought and was the beginning of a run that saw them win the World Series in 2008 and reach the Fall Classic again a year later.

When it comes to his Hall of fame candidacy, J-Roll is off to a good start. Of the first 139 ballots made public in Ryan Thibodaux's Hall of Fame tracker, Rollins had received 11.6% of the vote and should remain on the ballot comfortably.

Why Rollins belongs in the Hall

Rollins is the only player since 2000 to hit 200 home runs with 400 steals, he had ten 30+ steal seasons and his 470 steals are the fifth-most of anybody in the new millennium. 

Winner of four Gold Glove awards, Rollins was one of the better defensive shortstops of his time and has the fourth-highest fielding percentage of any shortstop in baseball history.

Where Rollins doesn’t stack up

Rollins ranks 32nd among shortstops with 47.6 career WAR, well below the 67.7 average among the 23 Hall of Famers at the position.

Aside from Alex Rodriguez, Rollins is going to be the best shortstop on the ballot for most of the next decade. Still, Rollins’ career .264 average and .324 OBP are lower than even Omar Vizquel.

Voting trends

A first year on the ballot around 10% would be a good showing, similar to former Phillies teammate Scott Rolen’s 10.2% debut in 2018. Obviously their cases are very different, but Rolen’s rapid rise shows that voter re-evaluation en masse can happen in just a couple of years.

Will he ultimately get in?

Rollins has a real uphill climb but it’s certainly plausible that he will trend upwards to reach 75% in the next decade.