Over the course of the month, LWOSports will be breaking down the top five MLB players in franchise history for all 30 teams. This article will rank the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history least to best by who had the biggest impact for the team. You can check out the other series articles here.
The Colorado Rockies are clearly still an incredibly young franchise having come into existence in 1993. However, they have had a handful of great players come through Coors Field. Unfortunately, the altitude of Coors Field gets blamed for some of the numbers that players have been able to accumulate there. The franchise has made five postseason appearances, including a World Series loss in 2007. In fact, two of those playoff appearances have come in each of the last two seasons. One thing that hurts the franchise is the fact that it is hard to pitch in that altitude, which means most premier pitchers are deterred from signing there. With that said, it provides a lot of fun offensive baseball. Regardless of that, here are the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history.
Top Five Colorado Rockies Players
5) Carlos Gonzalez
Checking in at number five on the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history is Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez has certainly hit a rough stretch recently in his career. However, for a stretch, he was one of the better overall players in baseball. He, like Troy Tulowitzki, has had sporadic injury issues throughout his career, which has hampered him a bit. Despite that, Gonzalez has three Gold Gloves, a batting title, two Silver Sluggers and three All-Star Game appearances to his name. His best season by far came in 2010. In fact, Gonzalez led the majors with a .336 batting average while slugging 34 home runs with 117 runs batted in. Additionally, he led baseball with 197 hits along with 351 total bases. Certainly, Gonzales has put together a career worthy of being on this list.
Accolades in Colorado: Three-time All-Star, two Gold Glove Awards, two-time Silver Slugger.
Stats in Colorado: .290 batting average, .349 on-base percentage, .516 slugging percentage, .865 OPS, 769 runs scored, 1,330 hits, 277 doubles, 39 triples, 227 home runs, 749 runs batted in, 118 stolen bases, 417 walks, 1,107 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 5th in WAR, 4th in offensive WAR, 14th in batting average, 17th in on-base percentage, 10th in slugging percentage, 11th in OPS, 2nd most games played, 3rd in runs scored, 3rd in hits, 3rd in total bases, 3rd in doubles, 5th in triples, 4th in home runs, 4th in runs batted in, 4th in walks, 4th in stolen bases, 3rd in runs created, 2nd in power-speed number, 7th in win probability added.
4) Nolan Arenado
It might seem premature at first to put Nolan Arenado at number four on the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history. However, when you consider all that he has accomplished, it makes sense after all. Arenado is arguably the best defensive third baseman in baseball right now as well as an incredible hitter. He has played six years in the majors so far, winning Gold Glove Awards each season. Additionally, Arenado is a four-time All-Star as well as a top-five MVP candidate seemingly every year now. Lastly, he has led the majors in home runs in three of six seasons while leading in runs batted in twice. If he stays in Colorado a few more years, he will most certainly continue to shoot up this list.
Accolades in Colorado: Four-time All-Star, six Gold Glove Awards, four-time Silver Slugger.
Stats in Colorado: .291 batting average, .346 on-base percentage, .539 slugging percentage, .886 OPS, 524 runs scored, 975 hits, 222 doubles, 25 triples, 186 home runs, 616 runs batted in, 285 walks, 571 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 4th in WAR, 5th in offensive WAR, 2nd in defensive WAR, 13th in batting average, 18th in on-base percentage, t-6th in slugging percentage, 7th in OPS, 9th most games played, 8th in runs scored, 9th in hits, 7th in total bases, 6th in doubles, 9th in triples, 7th in home runs, 7th in runs batted in, 9th in walks, 8th in runs created, 24th in power-speed number, 4th in win probability added.
3) Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki comes in third on the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history. Despite missing a lot of time during his 10 years in Colorado, Tulowitzki established himself as one of the better all-around players in baseball. Tulo was a five-time All-Star along with a two-time Gold Glove Award winner as well. His two best seasons were in 2010 and 2011. Tulowitzki finished fifth in the MVP voting in 2010 after hitting .315 along with 27 home runs and 95 runs batted in. He did that despite playing in just 122 games. The following year in 2011, he hit .302 with 30 home runs as well as 105 runs batted in. Unfortunately, there will always be an element of what-if with Tulo’s career, however, his greatness was obvious when he played.
Accolades in Colorado: Five-time All-Star, two Gold Glove Awards, two-time Silver Slugger.
Stats in Colorado: .299 batting average, .371 on-base percentage, .513 slugging percentage, .885 OPS, 660 runs scored, 1,165 hits, 224 doubles, 24 triples, 188 home runs, 657 runs batted in, 55 stolen bases, 435 walks, 713 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 3rd in WAR, 3rd in offensive WAR, 1st in defensive WAR, t-9th in batting average, 8th in on-base percentage, 11th in slugging percentage, 8th in OPS, 5th most games played, 5th in runs scored, 6th in hits, 6th in total bases, 5th in doubles, t-10th in triples, 6th in home runs, 6th in runs batted in, 3rd in walks, t-4th in runs created, 6th in power-speed number, 8th in win probability added.
2) Larry Walker
Larry Walker in second on the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history. Walker spent 10 of his 17 overall seasons in Colorado. In fact, the majority of his success came in a Rockies uniform. Walker is another example of great all-around hitter meets great defensive player, a common theme on this list. For example, take into consideration his amazing MVP season in 1997. Not only did he hit .366 while leading the league in on-base percentage (.452), slugging percentage (.720) and OPS (1.172), but he also led in home runs (49) while winning a Gold Glove. In 1999, Walker also led the majors in multiple hitting categories while also winning a Gold Glove. Walker’s stats with the Rockies were insane.
Accolades in Colorado: 1997 MVP, Four-time All-Star, five Gold Glove Awards, two-time Silver Slugger.
Stats in Colorado: .334 batting average, .426 on-base percentage, .618 slugging percentage, 1.044 OPS, 892 runs scored, 1,361 hits, 297 doubles, 44 triples, 258 home runs, 848 runs batted in, 126 stolen bases, 584 walks, 659 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 2nd in WAR, 2nd in offensive WAR, t-39th in defensive WAR, 1st in batting average, 1st in on-base percentage, 1st in slugging percentage, 1st in OPS, 3rd most games played, 2nd in runs scored, 2nd in hits, 2nd in total bases, 2nd in doubles, 3rd in triples, 2nd in home runs, 2nd in runs batted in, 2nd in walks, 3rd in stolen bases, 2nd in runs created, 1st in power-speed number, 2nd in win probability added.
1) Todd Helton
Todd Helton is number one on the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history, and for good reason. Certainly, Helton put together a career that should get him into the Hall of Fame. In particular, his run from 1998-2005 was incredible. For example, in 2000 Helton went ballistic on major league pitching. He hit .372 with a .463 on-base percentage, .698 slugging percentage along with a 1.162 OPS, which all led baseball. Additionally, he accumulated 216 hits with 59 doubles and 147 runs batted in. Those numbers also all led the league, and he slugged 42 home runs.
Interestingly, Helton is the only player in MLB history to have 100-plus extra-base hits in consecutive seasons. Also, Helton one of only four MLB players in history to have reached 400 total bases in consecutive seasons. He joined Chuck Klein, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig on that impressive list. Additionally, he is one of only five players in MLB history to have at least 200 hits, 40 home runs, 100 runs batted in, 100 runs scored, 100 extra-base hits and 100 walks in one season. The others on that list are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig twice, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg.
Accolades in Colorado: Five-time All-Star, three Gold Glove Awards, four-time Silver Slugger, one batting title.
Stats in Colorado: .316 batting average, .414 on-base percentage, .539 slugging percentage, .953 OPS, 1,401 runs scored, 2,519 hits, 592 doubles, 37 triples, 369 home runs, 1,406 runs batted in, 1,335 walks, 1,175 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR, 1st in offensive WAR, t-3rd in batting average, 2nd in on-base percentage, t-6th in slugging percentage, 3rd in OPS, 1st in games played, 1st in runs scored, 1st in hits, 1st in total bases, 1st in doubles, 6th in triples, 1st in home runs, 1st in runs batted in, 1st in walks, 1st in runs created, 9th in power-speed number, 1st in win probability added.
There you go, the top five Colorado Rockies players in franchise history. As you can see, despite a short history, they have produced several great players over the years. Again, if Nolan Arenado stays in Colorado, he could very well challenge for the number one spot eventually. However, Todd Helton is clearly the best Rockie of all-time as of now.
Honorable mention: Matt Holliday, Ellis Burks, Vinny Castilla.
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