Sep 25, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop C. Adames (18) slides into third base in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Today, we hand out the award for Player of the Year for the Albuquerque Isotopes, 2015’s AAA Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
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The Colorado Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki for a reason (well, several reasons), and most fans and writers assumed Trevor Story was that reason, and will be that heir apparent, now that Tulo’s long gone. That still may be true, of course, but Cristhian Adames is at least making the conversation interesting enough this year, and he presents the Rockies some options moving forward.
Adames has impressed in the big leagues the last couple weeks, but if you’ve been watching him at all this year, you knew this was coming. He had a monster year for the Albuquerque Isotopes and it was only a matter of time until it translated at the Major Leagues.
So, for his stellar play in the Pacific Coast League in 2015, Cristhian Adames is our 2015 Player of the Year for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
The numbers to back it up:
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Adames had a solid year start to finish in Albuquerque, earning himself a spot on the All-Pacific Coast League Team and — in what was his second season in AAA — hopefully proving to the Rockies that it’s time to graduate from the minors and get a legitimate chance at a Major League role.
In the last few weeks in Denver, too, Adames has impressed the Rockies with his defense and productive bat, outshining veteran Jose Reyes, and now taking over the reins at shortstop for the final week of the year as Reyes deals with an Achilles injury.
What 2016 looks like:
Adames’ short-term future is still highly dependent on Reyes, and Story, as we all need to see who the Rockies trade (or don’t trade) this winter, and how quickly Story can reach the big leagues, himself. I’m firmly in the pro-Adames camp, truth be told. That doesn’t make me anti-Story; I think Story’s a phenomenal player himself. It’s just that Adames will have had nearly 100 career big league at-bats heading into the 2016 season, and while that’s not a lot, it’s enough of a sliver of experience to grant him a rightfully-deserved larger role than the completely untested Story.
At the end of the day, the Rockies may have on their hands two very good shortstops/middle infielders of the future, and with that comes options as to where both of these guys can play. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, though; for now, the focus this winter ought to be on trading Reyes and handing Adames the starting shortstop job, at least to begin 2016.
McBride has had an interesting Rockies’ career. He crushes the ball in the minor leagues, but hasn’t been able to figure out big league pitching in several (albeit relatively short) stints up in Denver. He was designated for assignment earlier this month when Justin Morneau returned from the disabled list, and despite hitting .328 with a .929 OPS and 101 hits in 78 games for the Albuquerque Isotopes this summer, McBride went unclaimed and passed through DFA limbo back to the ‘Topes. At 30 years old, he doesn’t have much of a future in Denver, but he was a stud in Albuquerque this summer.
Nina is a player we’ve written about very recently, having won the Most Improved Award for his work with the Albuquerque Isotopes this summer. I know, there’s more to a stat line that batting average (it’s 2015, people!), but you still shouldn’t discount the benchmark that is hitting .300 in a full season professional league. Nina did that, and though it won’t win him Player of the Year, it certainly earns him a hat tip in the conversation.