For those of you who were unaware, the Cincinnati Reds are in the midst of a very tight race in the NL Central. Cincinnati loves that Joey Votto is putting up MVP like numbers, Brandon Phillips is playing outstanding baseball, there is a plethora of young guns on our staff, and much more. But one guy that does not get the notoriety he deserves is Red’s 3rd baseman Scott Rolen. Quietly, Rolen has helped turn this team into a real winner and this has all been done through the “Scott Rolen Effect.”
This guy can do it all. He has what many like to call, the intangibles. These cannot be taught, nor should they be underappreciated. Now Rolen’s journey started a long time ago. Many do not realize, but this guy’s career has spanned over 14 seasons with 4 different teams. He made his debut with the Phillies before many of the current Reds were even high school, or junior high school for that matter.
Rolen has been to the playoffs 3 times more than most of the players on the Red’s current roster. He also has won a World Series and has a winner’s mentality. And by a winner’s mentality, I mean a guy who takes the proper steps both on and off the field to win ball games.
Rolen is currently batting .302 on the season, with 18 HRs and 62 RBIs. He also is still fielding the ball at a Gold Glove worthy level (.978 fielding percentage). But though these are all great numbers, they do not necessarily differentiate him from the other top 3rd basemen in the National League. David Wright of the New York Mets is currently batting .305, with 17 HRs, 77 RBIs, and a .962 fielding percentage. Omar Infante, a fellow NL All Star from Atlanta is batting .342 with 2 HRs, 27 RBIs, and a .964 fielding percentage (though he has played 5 different positions already this year).
What separates Rolen, is not the numbers, though they are very good. It is his ability to do whatever it takes to win. This guy is willing to lay down a bunt in the 9th inning to get on base and give his team a chance to win (like he did on Friday). He will tag up from 2nd, on a ball hit to deep center, even though he has no speed. He will go 1st to 3rd with the best of them, as Brandon Phillips so eloquently proclaimed during the NL All Star Game. And lastly, he will lead in the clubhouse providing a winner’s mentality. Now so what if this guy has only been to the playoffs 3 times in a 14 year career. He has been the X factor on this Red’s team. Behind the scenes, he is the one helping guys like Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto not only turn into star players, but turn into “leaders” in the clubhouse. He is the father figure. He is the old man. And he is fine with that. He is still playing as well as the best 3rd basemen in the League as you can tell by his very solid numbers at the plate and in the field.
There were 2 quotes from the Red’s fearless leader Rolen in an article written by Enquirer Sports Columnist, Paul Daugherty in the middle of July. Rolen was quoted saying to teammate Brandon Phillips, ““When you’re not looking to get a base hit to raise your average, when you’re looking to get a stolen base not just to get a stolen base, but to get yourself in scoring position to get a run that wins a game, you’re not going to believe what your (stats) look like (Cincinnati Enquirer July 12th).’’ Then Rolen went on to say to teammate Brandon Phillips, ““Brandon, when we start winning here, you’re going to see what type of player you really are (Cincinnati Enquirer July 12th).’’
Well Scott was right. Scott embodies exactly what he said to his teammate Phillips. Everything he does revolves around helping his team win ball games. All the Reds’ players seem to be performing at their highest levels. There is a winning mentality in Cincinnati. And everyone can thank the arrival of Scott Rolen and his ability to bring the intangibles and that “winner’s mentality” to Cincinnati. It is all a part of the “Scott Rolen Effect.”
Rolen is truly rolling. Hopefully the Reds can continue to roll with Rolen all the way to the NL Central title in October.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.