Rockies' Top 5 shortstops: Harding's take

April 21st, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. Love this list? Hate it? If you don’t agree with the order, participate in the Twitter poll to vote for your favorite at this position.

Here is our ranking of the top five shortstops in Rockies history. Next week: left field.

1. Troy Tulowitzki, 2006-15
Key fact: From 2007-11, Tulowitzki compiled a .377 weighted on-base average -- second for shortstops behind Hanley Ramirez (.387).

In the five years has been away, his name sparks wistfulness among Rockies fans who wonder what would have happened had "Tulo" stayed healthy consistently. His anger after he was traded to the Blue Jays in 2015 is fresh in a lot of minds. But it would be a shame to let that overshadow the force that Tulowitzki was in purple pinstripes.

Rockies' All-Time Team: C | 1B | 2B | 3B

Nothing can take away five All-Star Games, two National League Silver Sluggers, two NL Gold Gloves, three top 10 finishes in the NL Most Valuable Player voting and a second-place finish for the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

Plus, he looked different. At 6-foot-3 and solid, he was bigger than any Rockies shortstop before him. No Rockies history montage is complete without his signature play -- floating to his right, throwing across his body, with the tail of his odd mullet haircut flying behind his cap and intense eyes burning just above the smudge of eye black. Add to that the sounds of the handclaps and the “Tulo” chant, and the regret and acrimony wash away.

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2. Trevor Story, 2016-present
Key fact: Story is the first shortstop to begin his career with four seasons of 20 or more home runs.

As good as Tulowitzki was, will surpass his mentor and onetime training partner?

Story has a quieter demeanor than Tulowitzki but has been every bit the force in the middle of the infield. While Tulowitzki’s first four full seasons outstripped Story’s in terms of wins above replacement, 20.8 to 18.6, using baseball-reference.com’s metrics, Story’s Rockies have matched Tulowitzki’s in terms of postseason berths (two) and Story has the edge in home runs 123-92 (counting the one Tulowitzki had during a 2006 cameo).

Story, who is in the same size category as Tulowitzki, even has his own signature play -- going to the middle, then spinning and pinpointing a throw to first base.

3. Walt Weiss, 1994-97
Key fact: Weiss’ .403 on-base percentage in 1995 is highest for a Rockies shortstop in a single season.

The arrival of in 1994 allowed the Rockies to play Vinny Castilla at third base, where he became one of the best at his position in club history. Weiss, who managed the Rockies from 2013-16, posted a 3.8 bWAR with the club.

4. Neifi Perez, 1996-2001
Key fact: Perez played in all 162 games in 1998 and 2000.

, the shortstop through some lean years, was streaky offensively but grew into a solid defender as he learned his pitchers and opposing hitters (in the pre-shift days). Perez led the NL in assists in 2000, the year he won an NL Gold Glove Award.

5. Juan Uribe, 2001-03
Key stat: Uribe compiled a 2.7 bWAR with the Rockies before being traded to the White Sox and starting a long career as a cog in winning teams.

Tulowitzki had the best overall arm at the position. But , with his 90-mph-plus sinking fastball thrown toward first, may have had the strongest. A typical day was Uribe showing up at the park early to work with Sandy Alomar, then the Rockies' infield instructor.

Honorable mention

, who played more than 300 games at short and at times was the main guy, also deserves to be mentioned. But he is on the second-base list at No. 4, so consider this spreading the wealth.