Tuesday, November 19, 2019

All-Time Teams: Rockies

I'm going to post as many All-Time teams as I can before Thanksgiving/Black Friday .. and then I have something different planned for December. Here's the Colorado Rockies:

Manager: Clint Hurdle
Home: Coors Field

Leading off for the Rockies.. the Center Fielder.. Charlie Blackmon

The Rockies' active leader in on-base %, Charlie Blackmon is in the team's top ten in nearly every offensive category other than OBP. A four time all-star, Blackmon stole 43 bases in 2015 but swiped just two bags last year. In 2017, Charlie led the majors in total bases, hits, runs scored, and triples. He finished fifth in NL MVP voting that year and won his second Silver Slugger award.

Batting second for Colorado.. the First Baseman.. Todd Helton

Todd Helton sits atop Colorado's all-time list in several categories including games played, runs scored, home runs, total bases, and doubles. Helton's career WAR of 61.2 is highest in team annals and ranks him ahead of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Only twelve first basemen in history have more hits than Helton's 2,519. The five time all-star has won four Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Gloves.

Batting third.. the Right Fielder.. Larry Walker

The Rockies have never had a Hall of Famer in their history but Larry Walker could change that. Walker was a five time all-star, a seven time Gold Glove winner, and a three time batting champion. In 1997, he became the first - and so far only - Rockie to win NL MVP. The Canadian slugger hit .366 that year but did not win the batting crown. It was the first of his four seasons batting .350 or better. Larry's career slash line for Colorado is an eye-popping .334/.426/.618.

Batting fourth.. the Third Baseman.. Nolan Arenado

Colorado's current third baseman, Nolan Arenado has won a Gold Glove in each of his seven seasons in the league. In addition to his unrivaled defense at the hot corner, Arenado has led the NL in home runs three times, RBI twice, and total bases twice. The five time All-Star has earned four Silver Slugger awards and placed in the top five for MVP voting three times.

Batting fifth.. the Left Fielder.. Matt Holliday

Matt Holliday played more seasons as a St. Louis Cardinal, but his six seasons in Denver were among the most productive in Rockies history. A vital contributor to the Rockies' pennant-winning 2007 season, Holliday finished second in NL MVP voting after leading the league in batting average, total bases, hits, doubles, and RBI. He won a Silver Slugger award in each of his last three seasons with Colorado before being traded to Oakland for Carlos Gonzalez - who was also considered here.

Batting sixth.. the Designated Hitter.. Dante Bichette

Another MVP runner-up in a Rockies playoff year, Dante Bichette led the team to its first postseason in 1995 - just their third year of existence. Bichette blasted a league-leading 40 home runs that year and led the majors with 128 RBI and 197 hits in the strike-shortened season. A career .299 hitter, Dante batted .300 or better in six of his seven seasons with the Rockies. His defensive deficiencies make him an ideal DH in this lineup.

Batting seventh.. the Shortstop.. Troy Tulowitzki

An all-around superstar when healthy, Troy Tulowitzki won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards, and was named to five NL All-Star teams. "Tulo" lost a very close Rookie of the Year vote to Ryan Braun in 2007 despite a WAR total nearly five points higher. He led the team in that category four times (including his rookie year) and ranks third in franchise history with 39.4 WAR.

Batting eighth.. the Second Baseman.. DJ LeMahieu

It was a tough call deciding between DJ LeMahieu and speedster Eric Young (who would have batted leadoff.) LeMahieu gets the slight edge based on three All-Star nods, three Gold Gloves, and a major league-leading .348 average in 2016. The current Yankees infielder raised his career average over .300 with a career year resulting in a 4th-place MVP finish in 2019.

Batting ninth.. the Catcher.. Chris Iannetta

Catching has not been Colorado's strong spot. Only three players were worth considering, and Chris Iannetta's numbers were closest to league average. The franchise leader in games caught, Chris smacked ten or more home runs in seven of his fourteen seasons. He leads all Rockies backstops in home runs, hits, RBI, and runs.

The Starting Pitcher for the Rockies.. Ubaldo Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez is the only starter who had sustained success pitching in the thin air at Coors Field. Jimenez leads all Colorado hurlers in career WAR, ERA+, and actual ERA. Perhaps most importantly, he allowed the fewest home runs per nine innings with an impressive .582 %. In 2010, Ubaldo won 15 games before the All-Star break, got the start for the senior circuit in the All-Star Game, and ended the season as a Cy Young finalist.

Now let's take a look at the Rockies' bench and bullpen:

Catcher: Wilin Rosario
Infield: Trevor Story
Infield: Vinny Castilla
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez
Outfield: Ellis Burks

Rosario is a close second to Iannetta in many catching categories despite playing far fewer games. Story has played just four seasons, but he's been as good as (if not better than) Tulo offensively. CarGo was a batting champion and an MVP finalist in 2010. He won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers over his decade in Denver. Burks earned a third-place MVP finish in 1996, when he led the majors with 142 runs scored and 392 total bases.

#2 starter: Jon Gray
#3 starter:
Jhoulys Chacin
#4 starter: Jorge De La Rosa
#5 starter: Aaron Cook

Gray barely qualifies, but his K:BB ratio is second-best in team annals. Chacin is the Rox' only starter other than Jimenez with a career ERA under 4. De La Rosa has more wins than anyone in team history. Cook is second in wins and WAR, and has the most innings pitched. Jeff Francis was considered, but his ERA+ was below the 100 average. It's safe to say this rotation would struggle against any All-Time Team.

RH Reliever: Matt Belisle
RH Reliever: Steve Reed
RH Reliever: Jose Jimenez
RH Reliever: Adam Ottavino

RH Reliever: Rafael Betancourt
LH Reliever: Brian Fuentes

Belisle registered a 3.19 FIP in his six seasons with the Rockies. Reed is the team's career leader in appearances and posted a 140 ERA+ in seven seasons. Ottavino's ERA with the Rockies was 3.41. Betancourt made more appearances for the Indians, but his sparkling 1.063 WHIP in six seasons is the lowest among Rockies' relievers. Fuentes, a four time all-star, holds Colorado's career saves record with 115.

Stay tuned for our next All-Time Team, the Detroit Tigers.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Wow. That pitching staff. If there was a full 162 games season based on your all-time teams, I think Colorado would wind up near the bottom based upon pitching alone. Ouch.

    1. Well, of course, Colorado SHOULD be near the bottom, along with the other three teams that were founded in the 1990s. Every other team has a much longer history to draw from. But add in the altitude effect, and of course Colorado is going to really suffer with the pitching staff.

      The only real comparison among the teams which have already been covered in Arizona, and they've got a much better staff with the Unit and Greinke at the top, but I'll take Colorado's lineup over the D-backs' any day of the week.

      Funny that two of 4 the recent expansion teams have already come up, but we won't hit any of the first 10 expansion teams until the Hs.

  2. I would love to somehow simulate a 162-game season with these rosters, though we all know who would end up winning the title :/

    Can you imagine this Rockies rotation against the Giants or Dodgers All-Time Teams? Yikes. At least Arizona has had some great pitchers pass through. Even Tampa Bay has had two Cy Young winners. (Their lineup won't be pretty though!)

    1. I had this same thought. Would be interesting if some of the stronger expansion teams did well against some of the weaker original teams.

    2. I wonder if there's a baseball simulator out there that would allow you to plug in any player from any time period into any team you wanted. If not, maybe someone's designing it now.

    3. I think "What If" sports has a dream team simulator that allows you to choose teams and simulate games, but I'm fairly certain it's not free.

  3. It's funny. Despite a disadvantage spanning decades, this team matches up incredibly well with your All-Time Reds team!

  4. I'm totally crossing my fingers that Larry Walker gets the call in 2020. He deserves it. Voters won't be able to keep Colorado Rockies out of Cooperstown forever... and if they do, it's a shame.

    1. I think Helton is just a deserving as Walker, but maybe the fact that this is Walker's last chance will push him in.

  5. Given how little history this team has, I was surprised with the level of talent in their starting lineup and bench.