Wednesday Rockpile: Is Todd Helton Going to Have An "Odd" Year?

We're 23 games in and the Rockies still have the best record in baseball at 16-7, attendance is up 16.6%, and a host of other encouraging factors have emerged. Colorado is winning on the road (10-3) and one run games (5-2) despite getting no wins in games started by Ubaldo Jimenez (0-3) -- that's because the Rockies have only suffered one loss in games started by Esmil Rogers, Greg Reynolds, and Alan Johnson (6-1). Yes, Carlos Gonzalez's slump is worrisome, Jose Lopez's bat seems to have disappeared, and Dave Gershman of Beyond the Boxscore seems to think that Jimenez may be the Rockies' worst pitcher (I know, right?), but I believe that I speak for all Rockies fans when I say that the start to this season has been overwhelmingly successful.

Perhaps the most encouraging sight, not necessarily in a baseball sense but definitely in a fan emotion sense has been the power surge of Todd Helton. Helton's 2 HR game last night (which was his first since August 7, 2007) was a thing of beauty, including a shot to center that was the first homer I've seen him hit that wasn't pulled barely over the right-field wall in quite a while. The point isn't that Helton is going to be a power hitter consistently now -- that ship sailed a few years back -- but rather that he has showed that he can be a force offensively even at age 37. Todd's triple slash (BA/OBP/SLG) is sitting at a robust .317/.371/.540 (.394 wOBA and 137 wRC+ if you're interested). The most surprising (and encouraging) is obviously that last number.

I'm hoping against hope that Helton will continue to pound out extra base hits as he did during his odd number 2007 (.320/.434/.494, 61 XBH) and 2009 (.325/.416/.489, 56 XBH) seasons rather than the even number 2008 (.264/.391/.388, 23 XBH) and 2010 (.256/.362/.367, 27 XBH), injury-plagued seasons. Yes, there are a lot more factors that go into Colorado's success than just Helton, but it's important to note that Helton's two good years in the last four were the Rockies' good years. Plus, it's nearly impossible to root against the guy. If the Rockies have a healthy, productive Helton consistently in their lineup this year, they'll wear out opposing pitchers to an even greater degree than they have so far (they lead MLB in walks with 95).

Off-Topic.

Other Links

MCC's Grant Brisbee (writing for the SBN Baseball Nation site) looks at the Troy Tulowitzki/Ryan Braun/lots of other good players 2005 draft and wonders: is it the best ever?

Finally, in power ranking news, the Rockies are 1st in BtB's list,  2nd in NBC's rankings, 4th in Fox's, and 5th in CBS' list.

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