On the Colorado Rockies version of Mt. Rushmore, there are three indisputable faces inscribed.
The first belongs to Todd Helton, Mr. Rockie, who spent 17 seasons in the Majors and two years in the minors, all with Colorado.
The second belongs to Larry Walker, the first and to this point still only, Hall-of-Famer in franchise history.
The third belongs to a player who has yet to reach his 30th birthday and recently even discussed desires to potentially leave the team. Still, when arguably the best player ever at his position wears your uniform, he’s earned his spot.
The fourth is far more debatable but one could easily argue that the player who rounded out the first four in our All-Time Lineup, Carlos Gonzalez, should be that man.
Who else belongs in that conversation? And who else belongs in the All-Time Colorado Rockies starting lineup? Let’s get back to our list.
5. Matt Holliday (LF)
The best player on the best team in Rockies history, Matt Holliday should have an MVP trophy on his mantle for his incredible performance as the leader of the 2007 National League Pennant winners.
He spent less time in Denver than some of the franchise’s other all-timers but his peak years in Denver brought some of the very best work with the bat that Coors Field has ever seen.
In ’07, he led MLB with 216 hits, 50 doubles, 137 RBI, a .340 batting average, and 386 total bases. He never hit fewer than 25 home runs in purple, and outside of his rookie year (when he hit .290) did he hit lower than .307.
Whatever he lacks in excitement in the outfield – he still had a decent arm – he can more than make up for at the plate by being one of the best all-around hitters the Rockies have ever had.
6. Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
Remember that our mental exercise here involves walking through a field of dreams and being able to select players at their absolute peak Rockies performance and put them on the field.
There is perhaps no one whose case becomes more iron clad under these rules than Troy Tulowitzki.
With all due respect to the young man out of Texas who currently patrols shortstop for Colorado, Tulowitzki was arguably the greatest on-field value on a game-to-game basis when he took the field.
Whether you are looking at more traditional numbers like batting averages, homers, and ribbies, or you are peaking at his WAR per game, the rate stats this guy put up are absolutely mind boggling. To put it in perspective, Trevor Story’s most productive campaign, according to bWAR (6.1) is very good but would rank fifth best on Tulo’s rankings, despite all the time he missed with injuries.
He produced so much at the plate and in the field that even with large chunks of time missing from his seasons, he was still among the most valuable players in baseball.
At his best, he was the top defender in the game and one of its 10 best hitters.
7. DJ LeMahieu (2B)
This one is quite a bit easier than the last two.
The best second baseman in franchise history is quite clearly DJ LeMahieu, and it isn’t especially close.
Originally seen as a throw-in to a deal that was headlined by Tyler Colvin and Ian Stewart, LeMahieu blossomed in Colorado from a slap-hitting utility guy to a Gold Glove second baseman and a National League batting champion.
He endeared himself to teammates, fans, coaches, owners, the media, and just about everyone in between during a seven-year career in Colorado. There may not be a more reliable player in franchise history. He played as close to a mistake-free brand of baseball as you are likely to find, did all the little things right, and could be counted on in big moments.
We could throw some stats at you, he does have a career .302 batting average, and yes some of this can be painful to talk about now that he dons Yankee pinstripes, but you will never be able to fully separate LeMahieu from the Colorado Rockies and from their fans.
A no-nonsense, blue-collar guy who still new how to have fun and respect everyone around him, High-Pockets DJ LeMahieu is also just a damn fine ballplayer who any fan and manager would happily take on their team.
8. Yorvit Torrealba (C)
There were some hard cuts that had to be made to this lineup. There is a myriad of fan-favorite dynamite outfielders who have come through the Mile High City over the years and more than a few who have manned the infield as well.
At catcher? Let’s just say it is a slightly less overwhelming group.
That’s not to take anything away from Yorvit Torrealba who captained the only Rockies ship to disembark at the World Series.
If you wanted to go on pure numbers and peak, you could choose Chris Iannetta or Jeff Reed… I suppose.
There probably isn’t a wrong or right answer between those three so I went with the guy who seemed to have the most success with his team on the field and who was a bit more toolsy behind the dish.
And there you have it, the Colorado Rockies All-Time Starting Lineup.
But we aren’t quite done yet. If you were wondering, “hey what about that guy!” then check back when we cover the bench players and bullpen for our Field of Dreams Rox Edition. We will dive deeper into the arguments for why certain players just missed out on starting and finalize the team.