Looking at the 100 Greatest Colorado Rockies: 83 Justin Speier


We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 83 on our list, Justin Speier.

Justin Speier didn’t have a positive WAR until his fourth year in the league. He was on three different teams because of it. He was chosen in the 55th round by the Chicago Cubs in 1995 and he was pitching like it on the north side.  Speier found his voice though in Cleveland where he was claimed off waivers before the 2000 season. He pitched nearly more innings than he did that year than he did in the three previous years combined. The Land is the first place he ever won a game.

Patience and perseverance are virtues that aren’t often rewarded in the majors, but Speier is an exception. He is a model of how organizations should nurture and develop talent. In 2001 Speier started the season winning two games and pitching just 20 plus innings when he was traded to the Mets. He never played for New York and was claimed off waivers for the second time in his career moving to Colorado. He pitched 76.2 innings and a 6-3 record between both clubs.

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Speier never had a losing record in Colorado. He went 5-1 in 2002 and in 2003 pitched in a career-high 72 games. He is a model of how to become an effective reliever in Denver. He used his effective fastball to set up his off speed pitch which happened to be a forkball. His greatest deception may have been in his delivery. It wasn’t quite side arm but he looked very unusual when he pitched.

Speier would go on to be traded to the Blue Jays and then the Angeles where he didn’t have the same success. In 2010 he signed a minor league contract with the Rockies with an invite to spring training trying to reignite some of the magic he had with the team. He was released before the season started and retired.

His ERA of 3.70, 4.33, and 4.05 in 2001,2002 and 2003 respectively are almost other worldly in Denver and made Speier one of the best relievers in Rockies history.

Next: Rockies Sign Greg Holland, DFA Eddie Butler

Check out the previous story in this list about number 84 Julian Tavarez here.