Colorado Rockies Countdown: Top Five Right Fielders
1. Larry Walker (1995-2004, fWAR 44.4)
As one the best to ever do it, Larry Walker is one of greatest all-around players in Major League history, let alone club history. Walker’s career fWAR of 68.7 (Rockies career fWAR 44.4) is actually better than the career fWAR of Todd Helton, opening the door for a debate of who the Rockie best all-time may be. That’s a discussion for another article.
Walker’s 1997 season is the greatest individual season by a Rockie, and one of the greatest all-around performances of the last half century. Walker hit for a .366 average to accompany an NL leading 49 home runs, 130 RBIs, 33 stolen bases and 409 total bases. Prior to 1997, the last time an NL player eclipse 400 total bases happened in 1948. To this day, Larry Walker is the only player in Major League history to steal 25 or more bases and have a slugging percentage over .700. Walker’s ’97 season would produce the only MVP award in Rockies history.
Although his MVP trophy might be his favorite piece of hardware, it certainly isn’t the only thing on display in the trophy case. After a decade in purple pinstripes, Walker would win three batting titles, five Gold Gloves (seven total), two Silver Sluggers (three total), and be selected to four All-Star Games (five total).
As you can imagine, Walker occupies the top spot on several franchise records. Walker’s Rockie career average of .334 is tops all-time, as he also holds the single-season record with .379 average in 1999. Walker also holds the single-season record for runs scored (143), total bases (409), and home runs (49).
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The greatest part of Walker’s game was that he was a pure five-tool player. A Rockies record .334 career average obviously speaks to Walker’s ability to hit for average. In respect to power, Larry is tops all-time in club history with an isolated power metric (ISO) of .284 (for context, Helton has an ISO of .223). Speed may be Walker’s most underrated tool, but he managed to steal 126 bags in his Rockies career, good enough for second all-time. In regards to defensive, you don’t win seven Gold Gloves without striking fear into base runners and batters alike when the ball comes to your side.