The Colorado Rockies are doing a wonderful thing this weekend as they will be honoring former first baseman Todd Helton all weekend, leading up to his jersey retirement which is set for Sunday, August 17th — which happened to be Helton’s number.
Helton spent his entire 17-year career in the Mile High City with the Colorado Rockies from 1997-2013, bringing excitement game in and game out. With his incredible hand-eye coordination and quick bat, Helton went on to win four-straight Silver Sluggers from 2000-2003, as well as five-straight All-Star selections from 2000-2004. Oh yeah, he also was pretty slick with the glove in which he won three gold gloves.
His 2000 season where he led the Majors in batting average, slashing at a line of .372/.463/.698 with 59 doubles, 42 home runs, and 147 RBI’s was almost video-game like. Helton’s stats did decline with age and injury but he did finish with a lifetime average of .316 which is incredible to do over 17 seasons.
Now with Helton out of the wings set for his jersey retirement Sunday afternoon, which player will follow in his footsteps?
Looking at the Rockies roster right now, there many be only one player that could possibly be under consideration down the line and that is third baseman Nolan Arenado. I know some people are thinking, what about Troy Tulowitzki?! Well, as you are already aware, the shortstop just cannot seem to stay on the field as he recently underwent surgery on his left hip which will reportedly take five months recovery time. Tulo’s stats are great, but his inability to stay healthy won’t cut it.
Arenado, 23, seems to be a star in the making at the hot corner. We all know his defensive ability is through the roof, achieving a gold glove during his rookie season but he is improving with his offensive game.
During his rookie season, Arenado hit at a line of .267/.301/.405 with 29 doubles, 4 triples, 10 home runs, and 52 RBI’s. What’s more impressive about his stat line is that he hit .270 with runners in scoring position, driving in 45 runs in 204 at-bats (55 hits).
This season, he is currently hitting .288 with 28 doubles, 1 triple, 11 home runs, and 46 RBI’s (thru-Aug. 15th). I have noted this a couple of times already but Arenado was known for his bat throughout the minor leagues rather than his glove — it turned out to be the opposite.
I know it’s pretty early to predict a kid to replace Todd in getting his jersey retired but if Nolan keeps improving like he has done thus far in his sophomore season, I don’t see how he cannot be up there as well. Also a factor to keep in mind is if Arenado stays with the team long enough.