MLB Pipeline recently released its annual Top 30 International Prospects list for players eligible to sign in the 2020-21 signing period. These young players are the game’s international stars of tomorrow and are following in the footsteps of thousands of international players who laid the groundwork before them. One day,
MLB Pipeline recently released its annual Top 30 International Prospects list for players eligible to sign in the 2020-21 signing period. These young players are the game’s international stars of tomorrow and are following in the footsteps of thousands of international players who laid the groundwork before them. One day, these young men could be remembered among the best players in team history.
In honor of the new crop, let's reminisce upon the Rockies’ top five international signings of all time.
1. RHP Ubaldo Jiménez
Jiménez, who returned to the Rockies this spring, tops a thin list. It’s not that the Rockies shun international players, but some of the club's international cornerstones, such as Carlos González, Andres Galarraga, Vinny Castilla, Pedro Astacio and Jorge De La Rosa, were originally signed by other teams. Jiménez leads all pitchers in Rockies history in Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement (18.3), and is the club's only original international signee to represent them in the All-Star Game -- in 2010, when he finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting and threw the lone no-hitter in franchise history.
2. INF Juan Uribe
Uribe’s time with the Rockies turned out to be just a snippet of a long career that included six postseason trips, World Series rings with the White Sox in 2005 and the Giants in '10, and another World Series appearance with the Mets in '15. Uribe hit .258 with 24 home runs and 135 RBIs in 314 games with the Rockies.
3. RHP Jhoulys Chacín
Chacín pitched well during some lean Rockies years, and his career stacks up well historically. He ranks second with a 3.78 Rockies ERA (bettered only by Jiménez's 3.66), fourth in WHIP (1.338) and sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (6.884). Since the Rockies released him in Spring Training 2015, Chacín has two seasons of double-digit wins (13 with the Padres in '17, 15 with the Brewers in '18). In '18 he made his postseason debut with Milwaukee, stymieing none other than the Rockies for five innings in Game 2 of the NL Division Series.
4. RHP Manny Corpas
After Corpas was signed out of Panama -- actually in a convenience store in Taiwan, as the club was also closing the deal for righty Chin-hui Tsao during an international tournament -- he emerged as closer during the 2007 World Series run, notching an 0.87 ERA in nine appearances, and compiled a 4.7 WAR for the club primarily as its closer and setup man.
5. SS Neifi Perez
Perez replaced Walt Weiss as shortstop in 1998 and held the job for the better part of four seasons, earning his lone Gold Glove Award in 2000. Perez was one of the most durable Rockies of his era, missing just five total games over the course of 1998-2000 -- he played all 162 in 1998 and 2000; 157 in 1999.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.