Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Colorado Rockies Community!

The Definitive Five: Tony Wolters must be the calm center for Colorado to contend

Drew Creasman Avatar
July 21, 2020

As a part of our Quest for the Asterisk series, we’ll be taking a look at the players who will be most pivotal in taking the Colorado Rockies back to the postseason in 2020.

Every team needs their stars to lead by example, both on the field and statistically. It’s a waste of time to tell you that Nolan Arenado and German Márquez need to be good. That’s obvious.

Starting with the first exhibition game on Tuesday and running through Opening Day on Friday, we’ll highlight those players – The Definitive Five – outside of the core performers whose season will truly determine whether the Rockies will reign again.

No. 4 – Wednesday, July 22

No. 3 – Wednesday, July 22

No. 2 – Thursday, July 23

No. 1 – Friday, July 24

No. 5: Tony Wolters (Catcher)

Most members of the Colorado Rockies had a down year in 2019. Several put up, by far, the worst campaigns of their MLB careers.

Tony Wolters was their polar opposite.

After years of struggling to hit his weight and separate himself much on defense as he converted from middle infielder to catcher, Wolters suddenly became an impact player on both sides of the ball.

Arguably, he should have been named to the All-Star Game in 2019 after making huge strides both at the plate and behind it. He committed just one error on the season, took dramatic steps forward in terms of blocking and framing, and became so adept at throwing out would-be base-stealers that the phrase “don’t dash on the ‘stache” was born.

For most of the key players in 2020, the Rockies will be counting on either a bounce back or a “next step.” For Wolters, they really just need him to prove that 2019 was no fluke.

The most important part of this is that he can’t take steps back defensively. This needs to be the new standard. He must be a rock for the rotation and set a standard for the run-prevention game that will be pivotal for contention.

If he can maintain or even improve upon his .262 batting average from a year ago, that would be helpful too, but the larger point with his offense is that he can’t revert back to the near automatic out he was batting .170 the year before.

Our observations in both Spring Training 1.0 and Summer Camp also suggest there is a strong possibility that Wolters, now in the middle of his physical prime at 28-years-old, will add just a little bit more pop to his profile.

Having hit a grand total of seven home run in four seasons with the Rockies, we still aren’t expecting some massive output but after a year in which Wolters simplified his swing and finally found a process that works for him, it’s pretty clear that he is taking the training wheels off of his new approach and is ready to aim higher.

We won’t be at all surprised to see him increase his slugging percentage by more than 50 points this year.

All that said, the most important thing Wolters can do to help his team get where they want to go is to be steady.

He should have more quality support this year as Elias Diaz and Dom Nunez replace Chris Iannetta in the backup role but Wolters, coming off his best season ever with still plenty of room to improve, is also at an all-time high when it comes to his confidence.

Because Colorado didn’t go out and make dramatic changes to the roster, their formula for success with this group will need to be very close to what it was during back-to-back postseason appearances in 2017 and 2018. That means low-scoring games that the Rockies find ways to win.

That further means that Tony Wolters needs to be that much more on point with studying opposing lineups, calling games, communicating with his pitching staff, and captaining the defense.

If he turns in his second consecutive career-best campaign, not only will he likely earn a sizeable increase on his next contract, but the Colorado Rockies will be right in the thick of the hunt.


Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?