4. Jason Jennings
Drafted in the first round of the 1999 draft, Jason Jennings made his debut in 2001 with only seven starts. Jennings’ true rookie year was in 2002, when he started 32 games and posted exceptionally high stats for a Colorado Rockies pitcher. While he didn’t lead the league in any factors, he had a great 16-8 record, an above-average 106 ERA+, and struck out 6.2 batters per nine innings pitched. Seeing a pitcher who could pitch at the dreaded Coors Field left the league stunned enough to grant Jennings the only Rookie of the Year award in Rockies history.
Jason Jennings’ career seemed to peak with the accolades of his rookie season though. He was a part of some terrible Rockies rotations and was let go after the 2006 season, which was the best season of his career. Jennings would only be in the Majors for three more seasons after leaving the Rockies, his last two being with the Texas Rangers.
Jason Jennings was a terrible starter for the Rangers in 2008 and in 2009 they moved him to the bullpen. While still posting a losing record, he was significantly better pitching out of the bullpen, posting a 113 ERA+ with 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, tied for the highest rate of his career. Jason Jennings is a case of a player who seemed worse than he was because of the high expectations his early career set upon him.
3. Eric Young Sr.
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Eric Young Sr. is one of the less talked about members of the Blake Street Bombers back in 1995. While he didn’t hit home runs, Young Sr. was fast, he was able to take bases that just simply weren’t there for other players. This resulted in a .317 batting average and an .404 on-base percentage in 1995. During the Rockies’ first-ever postseason run against the Braves, Young Sr. was fantastic throughout the series, but was critical during the Rockies’ solitary win, hitting a two-run home run in a game that the Rockies would win in extra innings.
This hot streak kept going into 1996 when Young Sr. earned himself an All-Star appearance along with a Silver Slugger. That year, he led the league in Steals and batted .324, the highest batting average of his career.
Eric Young Sr. saw the best of his last five seasons in Texas, batting .288 with a .377 OBP. Throughout his career, Young Sr. was good at compiling walks right along with hits. It also helped that he was speedy, a trait his son would inherit from him, who would lead the league in steals in 2013.