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We at BSN Denver are running a series where we rank how valuable each of the Colorado Rockies’ 51 players was to the team in 2015. Value was calculated by statistics, viewing, and how memorable each player’s contributions were. The rankings will be from last to first, you may view the full rankings (here)
Player: Justin Morneau
Stats: 49 G, 182 PA, .310 AVG, .363 OBP, .458 SLG, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 107 wRC+, UZR -0.5, 0.5 WAR
Big Moment: April 27, the Colorado Rockies are in the desert visiting the Arizona Diamondbacks. Morneau goes two for three with a walk, a homer while driving in three. He accounted for four of the Rockies five runs in their four to five road win.
Out of his 49 games played the three best all came on the road which is a credit to veteran’s ability to carry his bat with him away from Coors Feild.
As for an alternate “big moment,” one could be his nearly season-ending concussion that he suffered in mid-May. The former AL MVP has had his career derailed by concussion problems. Unfortunate they came back in 2015 and he lost a great deal of the season after suffering the injury.
Season Recap: The left-handed hitting 34-year old first basemen was one of the comeback players of the year in 2014. It looked as though he finally got out of his injury funk and returned to elite form. He was looking like a huge free agent steal for the Rockies entering 2015 with a cheap mutual option for 2016. He performed well to start the year, but his head injuries crept back and limited his season to less than 50 games. He was very good when he was playing and he was an ideal first baseman for the Rockies and Coors Field.
What’s Ahead: Morneau is now a free agent since his $9 million mutual option was declined by the Rockies. Obviously, the team was concerned that he would not be able to stay on the field in 2016 and with Ben Paulsen filling the exact role for cheaper, there was no need for Morneau. With the signing of Mark Reynolds the Rockies now have a full first base platoon. Justin Morneau will always be remembered as the first starting first baseman after Todd Helton, and he wasn’t a bad one at that.