Friday Rockpile: Sample Size Be Damned, Josh Rutledge Is Fun To Watch

August 2, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Josh Rutledge (center) is greeted by teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field. The Rockies won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Nothing's more exciting for a losing team than watching a rookie player come up and really set things on fire with his play. The Rockies have had several such guys in the past few years, including Troy Tulowitzki, .... uh.... well, Tulo's about the most exciting we've seen, but the point is that Josh Rutledge has been incredibly impressive this season thus far.

Rutledge, 23, drew a lot of attention last season in High-A Modesto when he batted over .400 during the 2nd half to finish his season at a VERY strong .346/.412/.513. While his 2012 in Tulsa was slightly less jawdropping, he was basically the best batter on the team, hitting .306/.338/.508 in 87 games.

So far, in his first 75 MLB PA, Rutledge is batting .382/.394/.706 while playing some pretty slick SS defense in Tulo's absence.

Since last season's batting surge, Rockies farmhound fans have been drooling over the thought of a Tulo-Rutledge middle infield, both offensively and defensively. Of course, Rutledge's strong SS defense is going to further fan the "Tulo to the Hot Corner" flames amongst some fans, but that's a discussion for another day.

So there has to be something negative, right? We could cite Rutledge's .379 BABIP, his diminished walk rate, sustainabil- you know what, no. The guy's batting .375 and just hit a homer in 4 straight games. This season sucks out loud, and for God's sake, I just want to dream on the idea of a 2B who can bat over .300 with decent peripherals and a strong glove. .375, people! That's a 1.109 OPS! Eat it, Mike Trout!

Speaking of good starts, how about Alex White last night? It wasn't exactly a world-beating line, but 5.1 innings, 2 ER, and 12 groundouts to 1 flyout is about as good as you can ask for from a guy who's struggled as hard as White has in a Rockies uniform. Jim Tracy said that after White's performance, he's back in the big leagues "long term". Whatever that means, his AAA line isn't bad at all, and this makes a lot more sense if Jonathan Sanchez continues to be terrible.

Oh, and Sanchez? He's striking out more batters than he's walking. Baby steps. I guess. I wish we could do the whole "Starter to the Pen" thing that seems to be working out pretty well for some guys, but surprisingly, the Rockies don't really have much room for Sanchez in the bullpen. I suppose we could give Mike Ekstrom the boot, as he's shown himself to be pretty hittable. Really though, Sanchez has already served his purpose of being less expensive than Jeremy Guthrie, so at this point, it doesn't really matter what happens with him.

2012, everybody!

Off Topic

ROCKIES LINKS

On Perhaps The Very Worst Home Run - Baseball Nation
A few days ago, against the Reds, Michael Cuddyer hit a home run. It might have been the worst of them. -- Whatever, still counts.

OTHER BASEBALL LINKS

Jayson Werth Activated By Nationals - Baseball Nation
Jayson Werth was pretty good with the Phillies, but nowhere NEAR as good as his $126M contract would suggest. You can't fault the guy for taking the deal, but man, I certainly hope he's able to look himself in the mirror and confidently say that he's doing his best, regardless of results.

Houston Astros Putting On A Clinic In Bad - Baseball Nation
OK, so the Rockies are bad. Really bad. But at least they have some fight, they don't get swept EVERY series, they show some life on the field. The Astros are 25 corpses right now, and I can't even imagine how bad Astros fans have it.

Justin Verlander's Magical Streak Is Over* - Baseball Nation
Justin Verlander is a great, durable, and consistent pitcher. You knew that. But maybe you weren't aware of just how great, durable, and consistent he is.

Cardinals fans get another vote as best in baseball - The Denver Post
Patrick Saunders opines that the Cardinals have the best fans in baseball. I can't say I disagree. They're knowledgable, they're passionate, and they're classy. Good for them.

Mike Olt And The Youkilising Of Michael Young - Baseball Nation

Michael Young is either the Geddy Lee's voice of baseball, or he's the black licorice of baseball.

Geddy Lee owns, alright? Oh, and maybe the Rockies can finally land Michael Young!

BONUS LINK:

Speaking with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar via Ballpark Cam at Coors Field, Michael Cuddyer humorously discusses what the trade deadline is like for a player, his hobby of photography, and jokes about Carlos Gonzalez's appearance on the cover of a Rockies magazine with his Ferrari.

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