Sixty years ago, they made a baseball movie called “It Happens Every Spring.” The plot is a fantasy, about a chemist who accidentally discovers a formula that repels wood and then becomes a pitcher who puts his potion to work for fun and profit. And, no, they didn’t test for the potion back then (or HGH, for that matter).
It happens every spring. There is no evidence that Jimmy Rollins has ever seen the movie, but he clearly knows the effects it describes. Pretty much every season he has been in the major leagues, Rollins has endured a long slump in the first half of the season. (There are a couple in the middle of the season, too.) At least one of them was worse than what Rollins had done so far this year, but there really have been a bunch of them.
It is why there no reason to worry yet.
Spend a half-hour with a strong cup of coffee and baseball-reference.com and you can do the same thing. It is a Rollins trait, these slumps. I tried to pick out time periods that approximate the 131 plate appearances that Rollins has had so far this season.
With that, here are the numbers:
DATES PA AVG HR RBI
April 5 to May 10, 2009 131 .195 1 9
May 18 to June 14, 2008 123 .231 2 9
June 18 to July 25, 2008 135 .228 0 10
May 4 to June 3, 2007 126 .214 0 12
April 13 to May 18, 2006 140 .199 4 11
April 19 to May 19, 2009 125 .203 3 8
April 5 to May 13, 2004 128 .209 0 6
May 21 to June 24, 2002 132 .180 1 8
June 18 to August 3, 2002 187 .157 3 17
Again, Rollins is slumping and it is worse than most of the slumps cited above (but not all). But history says it happens to him, and that he’ll pull out of it, and that he’ll end up hitting about .270 or so by the time they fill in the last line on the 2009 scorebook.
Worry if it lasts another 2 or 3 weeks. Not yet.