We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 84 on our list, Julian Tavarez.
Many might know that Julian Tavarez played for the Colorado Rockies considering he played for 11 teams and only one season in Denver. Tavarez was on arguably the best Rockies team that didn’t make the playoffs.
The year was 2000 and the Opening Day starters included Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Jeff Cirillo, Tom Goodwin, Mike Lansing, Neifi Perez and Brent Mayne. The team went 82-80 but the division was particularly stacked as the Rockies finished fourth in the division.
Tavarez started his career with the Cleveland Indians where he became an elite pitcher out of the bullpen. He excelled well there especially in 1995 where he didn’t give up a run against the eventual World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. He was traded to San Francisco in 1997 where he made many appearances out of the bullpen leading the league with 89 appearances that year.
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He came to the Rockies by waivers before the 2000 season. Tavarez did have starting pitching experience with his previous clubs and this is primarily how he was used in Colorado. He had one of the best years of his career pitching at altitude. He earned a career high of 11 wins compared to only five loses. He won nine games in a row posting a 2.0 WAR, one of the highest in a single season for a Rockies pitcher. It happened to be his highest WAR of his career.
Like many other pitchers who post good numbers playing half their games a Coors Field, he signed as a free agent the next year. He signed with the Chicago Cubs where he set career highs in innings, strikeouts and games started, returning to a full-time starting role. He didn’t match the same value as he did with the Rockies but he ate up innings which the 2001 Rockies could have desperately used as they finished last in the division.
Tavarez would continue to bounce around until he retired 2009. In 2007 tough he made his way back to Coors Field as a member of the Boston Red Sox. He was the fifth starter for most of that year, widely thought to be holding the spot until Jon Lester was ready for the big time. He was winning the last game of the World Series. Tavarez would earn his ring that year despite not pitching in the postseason. He showed his exuberance and personality when rolling the ball to first base when he was with the Red Sox. Although his stint was brief, Julian Tavarez had one of the best single season performances for a Rockies pitcher.