So the Hall of Fame vote came out yesterday... Okay okay, I know you have all had enough of this already so I'll segue past it after the first link and some minimal commentary.
Beyond the Boxscore says to look past home/road splits when evaluating Larry Walker's case for the Hall of Fame. It's about a month or so late on this argument, but it's excellent that SABR types are taking his case more seriously now. Because next year's ballot will be a colossal train wreck, Walker will need all the help he can get if he were to survive.
Kenny Lofton may not have actually been a Hall of Famer, but he deserved a far closer look than he was given. Along with Lou Whitaker and Kevin Brown, this makes three players in the last few years that I feel were prematurely dumped from the ballot by baseball writers. The Rockies and Walker fan inside me, however, is kind of glad Lofton's no longer on the ballot, though, as next year's picture for Walker is already muddy enough.
Thinking of Lofton also makes me think of Juan Pierre. Lofton was a far more complete player, but Pierre may be passing his career mark this year in the one category both outfielders are most likely thought of, stolen bases. Pierre's currently and 591 career SB's with Lofton at 622. Pierre had 37 SB's in 2012, so it's not out of the realm of possibility to see him passing Lofton for 15th on the all-time MLB list. See what I did there? Segued right off the Hall of Fame voting travesty and right into somewhat underrated but still not that great former Rockies players.
Speaking of which, of Rockies drafted and originally signed players, Pierre still ranks in the top 10 in r-WAR, a list which I think gets kind of surprising in a depressing way after the top three:
- Todd Helton (1995) 58.4
- Matt Holliday (1998) 35.8
- Troy Tulowitzki (2005) 25.7
- Craig Counsell (1992) 20.3
- Chone Figgins (1997) 19.2
- Juan Pierre (1998) 15.3
- Aaron Cook (1997) 14.3
- Clint Barmes (2000) 12.6
- Jake Westbrook (1996) 12.1
- John Thomson (1993) 10.9
The Rockies most golden era of drafting for impact seems to have come in between the 1995-1998 seasons, as six of the team's top ten draft choices of all time were chosen then, including the top two in Helton and Holliday. If they can stay healthy for three more seasons, Dexter Fowler (7.3 r-WAR) and Chris Iannetta (8.9 r-WAR) will almost certainly replace Thomson and Westbrook and pass Barmes eventually, scoring two for the 2004 draft, and Jeff Francis (10.0 r-WAR) seems at least somewhat likely to gain what's needed to get on this list as well. So I'm thinking by 2015 the bar of entry for the Rockies top 10 draft picks ever will be closer to Aaron Cook, which will make me sleep a bit better at night (quick fact: Rox Girl's likeliness of insomnia is directly correlated to the ease of getting onto the Rockies top ten draft picks ever list.) What's still depressing is that after Tulo, there's going to be a bit of a gap before the next challengers to this list. It seems there's still potential in the 2009 and later drafts, but 2006-2008 is a dead zone.
Helton's getting ready for a rebound with improved health, and I wouldn't put it past him either, as players of his caliber often will put up solid late career foothill seasons in between more typical decline years. This still reads of typical Spring hopes eternal, however, and we can probably expect more of "player X is going to have the bestest season of his career ever after learning a new slider and putting on 23.6 pounds of muscle" articles in the next month. Of course, sometimes the breakouts/rebounds turn out to be true, see Dexter Fowler last season, for instance, and on a team like the 2013 Rockies that should regress up to the middle a bit, we'll probably see a lot more of the sunshine articles proving themselves somewhat right even if it still leaves the team as a whole far off a contending pace.