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All-Time Team – Colorado Rockies
First Base – Todd Helton
Andres Galarraga had some monstrous years for the Rockies. But so did Todd Helton, and, unlike Galarraga, he has spent his entire career in Colorado. The Rockies’ all-time leader in home runs (333), runs batted in (1,239), runs scored (1,270), hits (2,236), and doubles (527), Helton has compiled a lifetime batting average of .324 in 14 years with the team. He has also posted an on-base percentage of .424 and a slugging percentage of .555. Helton has batted over .330 four times, hit more than 30 homers and scored more than 100 runs six times each, driven in more than 100 runs five times, and accumulated more than 40 doubles seven times. He had his two best years in 2000 and 2001, hitting 42 home runs and scoring 138 runs in the first of those seasons, while leading the National League with 147 runs batted in, 216 hits, 59 doubles, 405 total bases, a .372 batting average, a .463 on-base percentage, and a .698 slugging percentage. Helton followed that up the next season by hitting 49 homers, driving in 146 runs, scoring 132 others, collecting 54 doubles, and batting .336. He finished in the top 10 in the N.L. MVP voting both times. Helton has also earned five All-Star selections and three Gold Gloves.
Second Base – Eric Young
Although he also saw a considerable amount of action in the outfield over the course of his five years in Colorado, Eric Young received his only All-Star nomination while playing second base for the team in 1996. After batting .317 and leading the National League with nine triples the previous season, Young earned his lone All-Star selection by batting .324, scoring 113 runs, and topping the circuit with 53 steals.
Third Base – Vinny Castilla
Vinny Castilla spent parts of nine seasons in Colorado, serving as the team’s starting third baseman in eight of those years. During that time, Castilla compiled 239 home runs, 745 runs batted in, 1,206 hits, and a batting average of .294. He surpassed 30 home runs six times, reaching the 40-homer plateau on three separate occasions. Castilla also knocked in more than 100 runs five times, batted over .300 five times, appeared in two All-Star Games, and won three Silver Sluggers.
Shortstop – Troy Tulowitzki
One of baseball’s best young players, Troy Tulowitzki has been a member of the Rockies for four full seasons, during which time he has surpassed 20 homers and 90 RBIs three times each, while also scoring more than 100 runs twice and batting over .300 once. After winning N.L. Rookie of the Year honors two years earlier, Tulowitzki had a tremendous 2009 campaign in which he hit 32 home runs, knocked in 92 runs, scored 101 others, and batted .297, en route to earning a fifth-place finish in the league MVP voting. He placed fifth in the balloting again in 2010, after hitting 27 homers, driving in 95 runs, and batting .315 during the regular season. Tulowitzki has appeared in one All-Star Game and won a Gold Glove.
Left Field – Matt Holliday
I thought very seriously about bypassing Matt Holliday and giving the starting left field job to Dante Bichette, who compiled better overall numbers for the Rockies during his seven years with the club. But Bichette posted those statistics during the 1990s, when balls flew out of Coors Field with greater regularity than they have in recent years. Taking that last fact into consideration, I elected to go with Holliday instead. The 2007 N.L. MVP runner-up surpassed 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in two times each in his five years in Colorado, while also scoring more than 100 runs three times and batting over .300 four times. Holliday earned that second-place finish in the MVP voting by hitting 36 home runs, scoring 120 runs, and leading the National League with 137 runs batted in, 216 hits, 50 doubles, 386 total bases, and a .340 batting average. In his five years with the team, Holliday made three All-Star Teams and earned three Silver Sluggers.
Center Field – Ellie Burks
Ellis Burks spent parts of only five seasons in Colorado, appearing in more than 120 games only once for the Rockies. However, Burks compiled numbers so exceptional that one year that it became impossible to exclude him from the All-Time Team. During that 1996 season, he hit 40 home runs, knocked in 128 runs, batted .344, collected 211 hits and 45 doubles, and led the National League with 142 runs scored, 392 total bases, and a .639 slugging percentage. Burks’ extraordinary performance earned him a third-place finish in the league MVP balloting. He followed that up with another solid year in which he hit 32 homers, drove in 82 runs, and batted .290. It should be mentioned, though, that Burks may well be overtaken for the starting center field job on this squad in the near future, since the Rockies currently have one of the most talented young players in the game on their roster in Carlos Gonzalez.
Right Field – Larry Walker
Perhaps the best all-around player in franchise history, Larry Walker excelled in right field for the Rockies for nine full seasons. Walker hit more than 30 home runs and scored more than 100 runs four times each, knocked in more than 100 runs five times, batted over .350 four times, and compiled an on-base percentage in excess of .400 on eight separate occasions. He led the National League in home runs, doubles, and total bases one time each, topped the circuit in both on-base and slugging percentage two times, and won three batting titles. Walker led the league in batting average two consecutive times, posting averages of .363 and .379 in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He captured N.L. MVP honors in 1997, when he topped the circuit with 49 homers, 409 total bases, a .452 on-base percentage, and a .720 slugging percentage, while also driving in 130 runs, scoring 143 others, and batting .366. Walker earned two other top-10 finishes during his time in Colorado, appeared in four All-Star Games, and won five Gold Gloves.
Catcher - Joe Girardi
Joe Girardi hit only 15 home runs and knocked in just 120 runs in his three years in Colorado, but he posted a very respectable .274 batting average and did an outstanding job of handling the Rockies’ pitching staff.
Starting Pitcher – Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo Jimenez has averaged 15 victories in his three full seasons with the Rockies. He had his best year in 2010, when he finished 19-8, with a 2.88 ERA and 214 strikeouts.
Starting Pitcher – Aaron Cook
After starting out his career in Colorado as a reliever, Aaron Cook eventually earned a regular spot in the team’s starting rotation by 2006. He had his best year in 2008, when he finished the campaign with a 16-9 record. Cook’s overall mark with the Rockies is 69-58.
Starting Pitcher – Jason Jennings
Jason Jennings was a regular member of Colorado’s starting rotation for five years, during which time he posted an overall record of 54-55. He had his best season in 2002, finishing the year with a record of 16-8.
Starting Pitcher – Jeff Francis
A solid starter for the Rockies for four years, Jeff Francis compiled an overall record for the club of 55-50. He had his best year in 2007, when he went 17-9, with a 4.22 ERA.
Starting Pitcher – Pedro Astacio
Over parts of five seasons with Colorado, Pedro Astacio posted a record of 53-48. He won a career-high 17 games for the club in 1999.
Closer – Jose Jimenez
The Rockies’ closer from 2000 to 2003, Jose Jimenez saved a total of 102 games for the team during that time. He finished among the N.L. leaders with 41 saves in 2002.
Manager – Clint Hurdle
Colorado’s manager from 2002 to early in 2009, Clint Hurdle led the Rockies to an overall record of 534-625, for a .461 winning percentage. The Rockies finished over .500 just once with Hurdle piloting the team, but they captured the only National League pennant in franchise history that year, before falling to the Boston Red Sox in the 2007 World Series.
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