In this series, I am going to look at the top players to play against whoever the Colorado Rockies are playing this series.
I know I am just starting and will have some catching up to do. However, it’s Friday and the Colorado Rockies are starting a series against the Philadelphia Phillies, so who is the best to play on both teams?
The Rockies have shared around 60 players with the Phillies over the years. There have been some surprising greats to share with both teams.
While these players were great in their time, unfortunately, that time wasn’t really while they were with the Rockies or Phillies. Most were past their prime or spent too little time on either of the teams to truly be considered. I will say, though, that some of these players will make appearances on future lists (I’m looking at you, Dale Murphy).
5. Juan Nicasio
Nicasio was a product of the early 2010s Rockies farm system and barely made the list. His prominence in the dreadful rotations of the early 2010s was hard to watch, but he played in the Rockies system for nine years, and that has to account for something. I also must mention that he led the National League in appearances in 2017 across three different teams with an ERA of 2.61 so, while not huge, it is nice to see that he had at least one very good season.
4. Pat Neshek
Arguably, Neshek should not be on this list. He was only on the Rockies for half a season, but that season was an incredible one. Neshek is a two-time All-Star that was traded to the Rockies from the Phillies in 2017 after his second All-Star Game (his first was with the Cardinals). He was part of the bullpen bolster that helped shoot the Rockies into the insane Wild Card Game against the Diamondbacks. Neshek also appeared in that game for 1.1 innings, giving up two earned runs off two hits. It did not earn him the loss, and he appeared in one of the most important games in Rockies’ history, so he makes the list, despite giving up the infamous triple to Archie Bradley.
3. Charlie Hayes
Charlie Hayes was one of the first league leaders in Rockies history. Brought into the new expansion team in 1993, Hayes immediately took advantage of Mile High Stadium and led the National League in doubles his first year in Denver. He also led the league in GIDP (grounded into double plays) in 1993, but we won’t focus on that here (he also led in this category in 1995 with the Phillies). He only played for the Rockies for two seasons but could put out a decent product on the field, leading the league in putouts (when he was with the Phillies), assists, and double plays turned at different points in his career.
2. Bruce Ruffin
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Ruffin was a very good pre-humidor Rockies pitcher. He was a part of the Rockies from the onset of expansion until his retirement in 1997. He started his career in Philadelphia and appeared in 198 games for them. Perhaps the most important part of Ruffin’s career was in 1995 when he and Mike Munoz were the only pitchers to appear in all four games against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. He might not have won any awards (though he was seventh in Rookie of the Year voting in 1986), but he appeared in 246 games for the Rockies. He deserves to be on this list.
1. Juan Pierre
This is not the only list Juan Pierre is going to show up on, but it’s hard for other players to beat his time with the Rockies. He was drafted three times, once by the Mariners out of high school, again by the Mariners out of Galveston College, and then, finally, by the Colorado Rockies out of the University of South Alabama. After only two years in the Rockies farm system, Pierre made his debut in 2000. In 2001, he batted .327 with 46 stolen bases, leading the league. He had more stolen bases that year than he had strikeouts, something he would do many times in his career.
Pierre was only on the Phillies for one season, but even then still recorded 37 stolen bases.
Note: Statistics for this article were found using Baseball-Reference.