Charlie Culberson: no longer the enemy.

Evaluating the Talent: Charlie Culberson

Remember how Marco Scutaro was going to save the day at 2nd base and in the 2-hole? Remember how well that worked out?

Allow me to refresh your memory.

Stats with the 2012 Colorado Rockies (95 games): .271, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 35 K’s

Stats with the 2012 San Francisco Giants (61 games): .362, 3 HR, 44 RBI, 14 K’s

Stats in the 2012 NLCS (7 games): .500, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 K – MVP of the series

So the Marco Scutaro experiment did not work out, but apparently that was not Marco Scutaro’s fault. In any case, when he was traded to the Giants midseason, the Rockies got in exchange Charlie Culberson, a fellow with little to speak of in terms of a major league resume. He’s a fair bit younger than Scutaro – 13 years, to be exact – so the only thing I can figure is that the Rockies felt he would be valuable to the team in the future. Whether that’s true or not, what is true is that Scutaro had not contributed much of value.

Culberson made his debut with the Giants last May, and appeared in six games with them. He managed 3 hits in 23 plate appearances, a dismal, though small, sampling. A look at his minor league stats doesn’t leave much to be encouraged about: before the trade, he’d never posted higher than a .290 batting average, that being with the Giants’ single-A affiliate back in 2010. However, it seems that perhaps a change of scenery is exactly what he needed, because his work with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox was quite good. In 30 games, he collected 42 hits and drove in 12 runs.

Culberson’s upside: he plays good defense up the middle. He hustles. He hits doubles with Helton-like consistency. Despite average speed, he has good baserunning instincts. He needs to develop his plate discipline and acquire some more experience, but I feel a little better about his major-league readiness than I did, say, Wilin Rosario‘s. On the other hand, Rosario will be an everyday catcher and a quality bat once he finally stops passing balls and swinging at pitches way outside the zone; Culberson profiles as a solid utility guy. His career looks to follow a trajectory similar to Jonathan Herrera‘s. Which is not a bad thing, except the Rockies haven’t had a breakout second baseman since some guy named Clint Barmes made a run for Rookie of the Year. It would be nice to have some consistency and growth at that position. My money is not on Culberson there.

Where will Culberson be in 2013? Colorado Springs, with potential for a midseason call-up if the second-base-by-committee thing doesn’t work.

Where should Culberson be in 2013? Colorado Springs.

Tags: Colorado Rockies

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