This is the third article in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for the Colorado Rockies. In this installment are second basemen and shortstops.
The middle infield spots are among the Rockies’ weaker positions in terms of depth. However, the starters at each spot offer a mix of clutch hitting and exceptional fielding that would keep Colorado in games if these all-time lineups ever did take the field against one another.
The Best Second Basemen and Shortstops in Colorado Rockies History
Honorable Mentions – Mike Lansing spent five years with the Expos before coming to Colorado for three seasons (1998-2000). He hit .274 with 300 hits, 27 home runs and 128 RBIs in 278 games before being traded to the Red Sox.
Kazuo Matsui played two seasons with the Rockies (2006-07), hitting .308 with 106 runs, 157 hits, 56 runs batted in and 40 stolen bases in 136 games. He added 14 hits, five runs, a homer and eight RBIs in 11 games during the 2007 playoffs.
5. Brandan Rodgers – As a prospect, he was touted as a future star after appearing in two MLB Futures Games. Rodgers is in his fifth season with the Rockies (2019-present), and he has totaled 141 runs, 291 hits, 28 home runs and 134 RBIs in 297 games. The 2022 gold glove winner has missed most of this season after damaging his shoulder capsule, an injury he chose to rehab rather than have surgery, which would have caused him to miss the entire year.
4. Ryan McMahon – He started his career with parts of two seasons as a pinch-hitter and utility infielder before starting at second base for two years. Before moving to third base in 2021, McMahon had 202 hits 38 home runs and 129 RBIs in 301 games in his first four seasons, with his best season being 2019, when he smacked a career-high 24 homers and drove in 83 runs.
3. Clint Barmes – His eight-year stint with Colorado (2003-10) was split season-wise between second base and shortstop, with his later years with the franchise coming at the keystone position. Barmes had his best year in 2009, when he set career highs with 69 runs, 135 hits, 32 doubles, 23 home runs and 76 runs batted in.
Barmes totaled 360 hits, 44 homers and 180 RBIs in 414 games in his seasons at second base (2004, 08-10). He went 0-for-14 in the four-game loss to the Phillies in the 2009 Division Series and was traded to the Astros after the 2010 season.
2. Eric Young Sr. – He played five seasons with the expansion franchise (1993-97) and led the National League with nine triples in 1995. Young had his best season the following year, leading the league with 53 stolen bases and posted career highs with a .324 average, 113 runs, 184 hits and 74 runs batted in to earn his only All-Star and silver slugger selections.
Young is the all-time franchise leader with 180 steals (with four seasons of 30 or more) and he ranks eighth with 28 triples. He batted .295 with 378 runs, 626 hits and 227 RBIs in 613 games. During the 1995 Division Series, Young went 7-for-16 with three runs scored, a home runs and two RBIs. He played 15 seasons with seven teams and his son also enjoyed a 10-year career.
1. DJ LeMahieu – He earned two All-Star selections and showed he was one of the best at the position during his seven seasons with Colorado (2012-18). His best season in the Mile High City was 2016, when he led the league with a .348 average to go along with 104 runs, 192 hits, 11 home runs and 66 runs batted in.
LeMahieu has 161 doubles, 49 homers and 345 RBIs with the Rockies, and he ranks seventh in franchise history in triples (31), tied for eighth in average (.299), ninth in games (918), runs (498) and hits (1,011) and tenth in stolen bases (75). He had three hits, two of them doubles, in five playoff games with Colorado.
In addition to his work at the plate, LeMahieu is an excellent fielder. He won three gold gloves, was selected a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at second base three times and has a .991 fielding percentage, which is the best among active players at the position. LeMahieu signed with the Yankees in 2019, was an All-Star in his first season with New York and won his second batting title the following year.
Honorable Mentions – Juan Uribe was a solid defender who spent the first three seasons of a 16-year career with Colorado (2001-03). The future champion with the White Sox (2005) and Giants (2010) batted .258 with 298 hits, 24 home runs and 135 RBIs in 314 games with the Rockies.
Royce Clayton followed Uribe as a starter in 2004, hitting .279 with 95 runs, 160 hits, 36 doubles and 54 RBIs in his only season with Colorado. Clayton played with 11 teams during his 17-year career, finishing with the champion Red Sox in 2007 (although he was not on the postseason roster).
5. Clint Barmes – Although he played four seasons each at second base and shortstop, his time at short was hampered by injury and competition. Barmes suffered possibly the freakiest of “freak injuries” in 2005, when he broke his collarbone climbing the stairs into his apartment while carrying deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton. Two years later, he lost a battle for a roster spot, spent most of the year in the minor leagues and was left off the playoff roster. Barmes played in 251 games at shortstop, totaling 119 runs, 222 hits, 50 doubles, 17 home runs and 105 runs batted in.
4. Walt Weiss – The 1988 Rookie of the Year and four-time World Series participant spent four seasons with Rockies (1994-97), batting .266 with 264 runs, 469 hits and 143 RBIs in 523 games. He went 2-for-12 with a run scored and a stolen base in the 1995 Division Series and three years later earned his only All-Star selection as a member of the Braves.
3. Neifi Perez – He was a slick fielder who spent six seasons with Colorado (1996-2001) and won a gold glove in 2000. Perez had his best season in 1999, when he hit .280 with 70 runs batted in, led the National League with 11 triples and set career highs with 108 runs, 193 hits, 12 home runs and 13 stolen bases. He ranks third in franchise history with 49 triples and batted .282 with 395 runs, 769 hits and 281 RBIs in 668 games with the Rockies.
2. Trevor Story – The 2015 MLB Futures Game participant developed into a star despite a high strikeout rate, including fanning a league-high 191 times in 2017. Each of the next two seasons, Story earned All-Star and silver slugger selections, and he hit .291 and set career highs with 174 hits, 42 doubles, 37 home runs and 108 RBIs in 2018.
In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Story led the league with four triples and 15 stolen bases. He ranks tied for seventh in team history with 100 stolen bases, is tied for ninth with 27 triples and ranks tenth in both doubles (180) and home runs (158). Story batted .272 with 463 runs, 768 hits and 450 RBIs in 745 games over six seasons with the Rockies (2016-21). He had seven hits, three runs scored and a home run in five playoff games.
Story signed with the Red Sox in 2022 but has battled elbow injuries his entire time in Boston. He saw his first action this season in early August after undergoing an internal bracing procedure on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
1. Troy Tulowitzki – The shortstop on the All-Decade team for the 2010s played in the 2006 MLB Futures Game and earned five All-Star selections, two gold gloves and two silver sluggers in 10 seasons with Colorado (2006-15). He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2007 after hitting .291 with 24 home runs and 99 runs batted in.
From 2009-11, Tulowitzki had at least 25 home runs and 90 RBIs and finished in the top 10 in the MVP race each season. He set career highs with 101 runs, 161 hits, 32 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2009 and hit .302 with a career-best 105 RBIs two years later.
Tulowitzki hit 20 or more homers six times with the Rockies, but his promising career was derailed by several injuries. He missed most of the 2012 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue that was irritating a nerve in his groin. In 2008, “Tulo” tore a tendon in his left quadriceps and cut open his hand after slamming his bat in frustration. Two years later, he missed time after getting hit in the wrist by a pitch.
After being traded to the Blue Jays, Tulowitzki missed time in 2017 due to a sprained right ankle and had surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels and ended up missing all of the following season. He signed with the Yankees in 2019 but strained his calf early in the season and played in just five games with New York before retiring at the end of July and becoming and assistant coach with the University of Texas baseball team.
Tulowitzki ranks sixth in franchise history in runs (660), seventh in games (1,048) and doubles (224), eighth in hits (1,165), home runs (188), runs batted in (657) and total bases (2,001) and is tied for eighth with a .299 average. The four-time fielding champion had 12 hits, three runs, five doubles, a home run and five RBIs in 15 playoff games with Colorado.
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Cleveland Guardians First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Cleveland Guardians Second Basemen and Shortstops
Cleveland Guardians Outfielders
Cleveland Guardians Pitchers
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A look back at the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox Catchers and Managers
Chicago White Sox First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Chicago White Sox Second Basemen and Shortstops
Chicago White Sox Outfielders
Chicago White Sox Pitchers
A look back at the Chicago Cubs
A look back at the Boston Red Sox
A look back at the Baltimore Orioles
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Baltimore Orioles First and Third Basemen
Baltimore Orioles Second Basemen and Shortstops
Baltimore Orioles Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Baltimore Orioles Pitchers
A look back at the Atlanta Braves
A look back at the Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks Catchers and Managers
Arizona Diamondbacks First and Third Basemen
Arizona Diamondbacks Second Basemen and Shortstops
Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielders
Arizona Diamondbacks Pitchers