In the Rockpile: First-half Best and Worst

Troy Tulowitzki's defensive wizardry has been one of the few bright spots for the Rockies so far this season. (AP/Nick Wass)

With the All-Star festivities  finishing up, it’s time for my Colorado Rockies Best & Worst of the first half of 2011. When someone asks if you want “the good news or bad news first,” you always go with bad news … so let’s start with the Worst of 2011.


On the mound … Aaron Cook. Not a surprise, he has been pretty bad since returning from the DL. The last thing the team needed was a guy who hasn’t pitched real well in a few years to return and start blowing games behind poor command and a weak offense.

Infield dirt ball … Ian Stewart. Stewart probably knows every gas station up and down I-25 by now because he is constantly driving up and down it from Denver to triple-A. If I had to give him a grade, it would be a D-. The only reason I don’t give him an F is because he has been more patient at the plate, breaking a 0-22 AB streak … and if he wastes another opportunity at this level, he will find himself a permanent home elsewhere.

The outfield … See ya, Dexter Fowler. I don’t expect to see him again this season and certainly not after it. I think the Fowler days are either numbered or done already. His failure as a lead-off man has come to a head, finally. He can play centerfield well, but he can’t help offensively except as a pinch runner. Same goes for Eric Young, Jr. for that matter.


On the mound … I can’t call it a tie, but luckily pitching has been a brighter spot for the season. Before Jorge de la Rosa went on the DL, he was the man. Now, more or less, it is Jhoulys Chacin’s. Chacin – like other Rockies — has fallen on tougher times, but recent starts aside, he has been the best pitcher in the rotation in his second season.

Turning double plays … Troy Tulowitzki. As usual, Tulo is holding down the fielding. His ability to make clutch plays is what the UAVs are to the CIA: deadly. Watching him turn double plays or sidearm sling a laser to Helton at first, while still in motion in the air, is just good baseball.

Good deals … My favorite addition to the roster has been Matt Lindstrom. Matt came by way of Houston and has to be happier to be here. The recent month hasn’t been as good of a showing compared to the beginning of the first half, but he fires some nasty stuff from the rubber.

Honorable Mention

Todd Helton — Rebounding from a bad back last season — which is not gone, but seems to be less bothersome — Helton is the longest-tenured Rockie and has been the most consistent player on the roster.

Overall, the expectations going into the season were lofty, and the red-hot start did not help soften the crash back down to Earth. As an overall grade so far, I would give Colorado a D+. They are inconsistent and, to a certain degree, I would say they are soft. They need to stop trying so hard to be great and just play the game. I’m talking to you, Carlos Gonzalez.

In addition, there are trade rumors of Ubaldo Jimenez possibly being shopped to Cincinnati. Only for the right price, do not nickel and dime this, ownership. Ubaldo hasn’t been great this season but he is still a bright, young pitcher who just needs to get himself right and have a good offense behind him.

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