Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is 33-years-old. With 12 seasons already under his red belt, it's fair for fans to ask if he can get on a roll once again this season.
From Oakland to Philadelphia
Rollins was born in Oakland, California in 1978. His skills to play ball and attract friends were evident from an early age and foreshadowed a dually prosperous future.
After Philadelphia selected the then seventeen-year-old in the second round of the 1996 draft, he played his first season of professional baseball for the Martinsville Phillies in the Appalachian League. During his next four minor league seasons, he displayed speed on the bases, potential at the plate and consistent defensive prowess through the year 2000 with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.
After appearing in 14 games with the parent club at the end of that 2000 season, Rollins has never left the show.
Bonding with original mentor Larry Bowa and his replacement Charlie Manuel, helped enable his remarkable 2007 season to happen. It was during that year that he hit 30 home runs, had 94 RBI's, scored 139 runs, stole 41 bases, had 212 hits (which included 20 triples), had a .296 batting average, an .875 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) and had a .985 fielding percentage.
For his efforts he was rightfully awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards.
World Series year on out
While the Phillies 2008 World Series Championship season wasn't one of Rollins best seasonal efforts, his superb glove work and irrepressible drive were keys to the overall success of that team.
Since then, he has been hampered by health issues that limited him to 88 games during the 2010 season. However, he was relatively healthy last year and played in 142 games. He encouragingly produced his best OPS (.736) since 2008 and had a .988 fielding percentage.
Concluding that a continued marriage was best for both sides allowed Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Rollins to reach agreement on a new contract during this offseason. While no one expects him to produce like it's 2007, it's reasonable to believe that he can replicate his 2011 campaign and continue to turn numerous double plays with Chase Utley through next fall.
Getting on another roll
Rollins certainly still believes that the Phillies are the "team to beat" in a division that includes the decent Atlanta Braves, rising Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins and the talent-challenged New York Mets.
J-Roll will likely be able to create a productive 2012 regular season performance. Having some selected days off during that time should also allow his legs to be fresh for another pennant chase next fall.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
More from this author and the Yahoo Contributor Network: