The Rockies’ infield has been a model of inconsistency this year. At short and first, they’ve received some very solid production — defensively and offensively. However, they have had major issues at second and third and the lack of production from those spots might be the biggest reason for the Rox disappointing first half. Overall, I’ll give the infield a B, with the acknowledgement that Tulo and Helton are carrying the class.
Todd Helton — A+
Before the season, Helton was one of the Rockies’ biggest question marks, but even his most fervent fans couldn’t have expected what he’s done so far this year. He’s easily been the Rox best hitter, currently leading the team — among those who qualify — in wOBA, wRC+, OBP, and OPS. For the first time in several years he is on pace to hit twenty home runs. Additionally, he’s back to his old self in the field. If there is one thing that Rockies’ fans can look forward to in the second half, it’s watching the Toddfather play at an elite level once again. Soak it in while it lasts.
Troy Tulowitzki — B+
Giving the Rockies’ most valuable player a B+ is probably a bit too hard, but he has played slightly beneath expectations. In the field, Tulo is in a league all by himself. His glove alone would keep him in the lineup every day. However, he continues to be very streaky at the plate. No doubt, some of his offensive struggles this season have been attributable to luck. His BABIP in May was under .200 and is still far beneath his career average. But, the Rockies are relying on him to carry the lineup and he must find a way to be more consistent. Still, even taking all of that into account, he’s having a very respectable offensive season. His power numbers are solid and his strike-out percentage is down. If he’s healthy in the second half, he’s due for a major hot streak.
Mark Ellis — A
In ten games Mark Ellis has already given the Rockies more wins above replacement than all this year’s other second basemen combined. Granted, it’s just ten games and the likelihood of him maintaining a .404 wOBA is basically nil. Still, I think we can all agree that they would be much better off if Ellis had been the starting second baseman all season.
Jonathan Herrera — C+
Basically, Herrera gave the Rockies one month of good baseball. But, his current WAR is 0.2. If you told me before the season that the Rockies would get above replacement level production out of Jonny, I probably would’ve gotten a little excited. He’s played above his abilities and for that I’ll give him a C+. Jonny will never be an everyday player.
Jason Giambi — A
Giambi has played his role perfectly. He has made significant contributions when Helton has been out of the lineup and he’s the only legitimate weapon on the Rockies’ bench.
Ty Wigginton — C
I’m a stickler for defense and Wigginton is by far the worse defender on this team. He’s performed as expected at the plate, but his stone hands in the field have cost the Rockies significantly. The easiest way to make the team instantly better is to improve the defensive black hole at third base. Fathers, don’t let your children watch Wiggy play third. Actually, don’t let them watch him play any position.
Ian Stewart — Incomplete
Ian has seventy-four plate appearances and they’ve been extremely spotty. They gave Chris Nelson a longer look than they gave Ian.
Chris Nelson & Eric Young Jr. — C
Some would say that these two deserve lower grades, but nothing should’ve been expected of them in the first place. The smartest thing the Rangers did this off-season was to kill the Michael Young for EY Jr. trade. If they had happened, things might’ve gone a lot differently this year. Regardless, the Rockies should’ve known that they weren’t going to get better by calling up two marginal prospects with weak gloves.
Jose Lopez — F
If I were to start pointing out places where the Rockies have gone wrong this year, I’d start with the acquisition of Jose Lopez. With the team in major need of an upgrade at second base, they found a downgrade. Say what you will about Clint Barmes, but he’s better than Lopez. And this isn’t hindsight. Lopez was a terrible player in 2010. It’s not an issue of what they gave up to get him, which was basically nothing. The problem with the Lopez acquisition is that they relied on it to fix a problem and he made it much worse.
Aside from Travis and I bickering, things have been quiet on the comments board lately. Let us know what you think about the grades.