Arenado, Tulo lead Rox's best players of 2010s
The evaluation of a decade is almost always tough. Thank goodness for the word "almost" when it comes to ranking the Rockies’ top 10 players from 2010-19.
It was a strange decade for Colorado. The Rockies reached the postseason twice -- in 2017 and 2018 -- but had just one other winning season. In good years and bad, however, the team’s stars continued to perform at a high level.
As has been the case throughout the team’s history, hitters and standout defenders stood out more than the pitchers. In reviewing the 10 best seasons based on bWAR, six were position players were hitters, with pitchers occupying the next eight spots.
Here are the Rockies' top 10 players of the decade:
1. 3B Nolan Arenado
Arenado arrived in April 2013 and dominated the decade with the bat and the glove. In seven seasons in Colorado, Arenado has won seven Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, received five All-Star nods and four Top 10 finishes in National League Most Valuable Player voting. As for the eye-popping numbers, his 38.7 overall WAR, 14.4 dWAR (defensive) and 26.5 oWAR led the Rockies in each of those categories during the decade. With seven more years left on his contract (even with an opt-out clause after 2021), he has a shot at being the player of the next decade, too.
2. SS Troy Tulowitzki
Tulowitzki was the standard for shortstops during his time in Colorado. The five-time All-Star posted a 26.5 WAR in 5 1/2 seasons with the Rockies, which was second-highest WAR during the decade behind Arenado. What’s funny is whenever a shortstop with the size, offensive power and glove of Tulowitzki comes along, they are often called a “new breed.” But that’s a misnomer. Not many players like Tulowitzki ever pass through (although the Rockies are lucky enough to have another on this list). Tulowitzki took home two Gold Gloves and had two Top 10 MVP finishes on his resume, with only injuries preventing him from further greatness.
3. OF Carlos González
The decade started with CarGo winning a batting title. After some years of injury and team struggles, he was rewarded with postseason trips the last two years. The injuries in the middle of the decade prevented him from posting better numbers, but three All-Star Games, a 21.7 overall WAR, 214 home runs and 720 RBIs (second only to Arenado’s 227 and 734) are strong numbers. González has three Gold Gloves, as well.
4. OF Charlie Blackmon
Blackmon encountered some injuries early in his time with the Rockies, but once he was healthy, his production skyrocketed. Blackmon’s 2017 season -- which he finished with a league-leading .331 with 37 home runs and 104 RBIs -- was one of the best seasons in MLB history for a leadoff man. Like Tulowitzki and González at the start of the decade, Blackmon took a long-term contract to devote his prime years to the Rockies.
5. 2B DJ LeMahieu
LeMahieu was sixth in WAR over the decade, but being the best defensive player at his position during the decade is a big deal. His 9.5 dWAR sounds like an ordinary number, but his trophy case -- three Gold Gloves and three Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards -- make that number shine. An underrated hitter, LeMahieu won a batting title in 2016. He’ll also go down as one of the smartest and most-intense players to don the purple pinstripes.
6. SS Trevor Story
Like Arenado, Story has all the markings of a guy who will be a leader in the new decade. Players like Tulowitzki don’t come along often, but Story has been just as productive offensively. Story has the same number of home runs (123) in his 544 games that Tulowitzki knocked in 616 games and is getting even better defensively. He has a 5.9 dWAR and in 2019 put himself in the Gold Glove conversation.
7. RHP German Márquez
Marquez has put up an 11.7 WAR before the age of 25, and his 24.3 percent strikeout rate suggests greater production. Marquez also signed a lengthy contract with the Rockies and could be near the top of the list by the end of the next decade.
8. RHP Jhoulys Chacín
Chacín was released after shoulder problems threatened his career, but he put up a 14.5 WAR with the Rockies over a five-year stretch. Chacín deserves some respect for reviving his career with the Padres and the Brewers during the latter part of the decade.
9. RHP Jon Gray
Gray is still pushing to live up to the promise that came with being the third overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, but he has no reason to apologize for his work so far. His 24.5 percent strikeout rate tops all starters during the completed decade.
10. LHP Jorge De La Rosa
At time during the Rockies’ lean years the rotation could have been best described in a catchphrase – “Jorge … then let us pray." No starter in the decade approached his 145 starts (148 appearances). While wins are not a vogue stat, his 60 wins and .577 winning percentage speak loudly considering how much the team struggled during his career with Colorado.