Any Colorado Rockies fan is well aware that the Denver Nine have put together their fair share of losing seasons. The losing was not for lack of talent, however.
Most seasons, particularly in the days of the Blake Street Bombers, the Colorado Rockies lineup could go toe-to-toe with any offense in baseball. That in mind, let’s look at the Rockies’ best collective lineup from the 2001-2006 losing stretch.
To get as much firepower as possible, I constructed this lineup using a DH.
After leading off with Juan Pierre‘s .327 average and 46 stolen bases, this lineup delivers five consecutive sluggers who topped 35 home runs and 130 RBI for the Rockies. Probably the most forgotten of those five is outfielder Preston Wilson who, in 2003, hit 36 home runs while driving in 141 runs.
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The other names in this mix need no explanation, but let’s take a brief look at their best seasons anyway: Larry Walker (49 HR, 130 RBI, .366 BA, 1.172 OPS, 33 SB, NL MVP), Todd Helton (42 HR, 147 RBI, .372 BA, 1.162 OPS), Vinny Castilla (46 HR, 144 RBI, .319 BA), and Matt Holliday (36 HR, 137 RBI, .340 BA).
Next up is Troy Tulowitzki, who hit over 30 home runs twice and also eclipsed the 100-RBI mark once with several near misses. Tulo made his debut in 2006 and only played 25 games that season, but he’s still the clear choice here.
Second base was one of the tougher decisions as it came down to a fight between Jamey Carroll and Luis Gonzalez. Carroll will always be remembered for his role in the 2007 National League Championship team. However, despite hitting an even .300 in his first season with the Rockies in 2006, he was edged out here by Gonzalez, who played several more games for the Rox during this stretch, hit a respectable .292 in both 2004 and 2005, and registered 12 and nine home runs in those seasons, respectively. The most long balls Carroll hit in a season was five in 2006.
The lineup rounds out with Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate. Though known better for his defense and clubhouse impact, the catcher had his fair share of clutch hits for the Rox.
Looking at how good this lineup is just goes to show how bad the club’s pitching struggled during this losing stretch. While there may not have been a lot of winning from 2001-2006, the bats still gave the fans plenty to be excited about.