Through the first 53 games in 2013, the Rockies have fought to a 28-25 record and currently have the second highest run-scoring offense in the National League. But when the people around baseball think about the key contributors to the Rockies' offense, the names that instantly come to mind are Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and the power-hitting Wilin Rosario. To be fair, these are the names that should come to mind; they make up the heart of the Rockies' order, are consistently in All-Star discussions, and will earn a combined $18 million this season (apparently you can support this trio on a roster for the price of one Barry Zito... go figure). But one other name should also come to mind when thinking about the Rockies' supercharged offense: Michael Cuddyer.
The 34 year-old Cuddyer was drafted in the first round of the 1997 draft by the Minnesota Twins with the 9th overall pick. After debuting in 2001, he spent 11 seasons in Minnesota before signing with Colorado before the 2012 season. After a wonderfully productive 2011 season, he earned himself a nice 3-year $32 million contract from Colorado. Now in the second year of that contract, the Rockies are getting their money's worth. Through 36 games (missed 14 games due to that silly neck), Cuddyer has compiled a .333/.397/.615 slash line. He's knocked in 30 RBIs, scored 21 runs and clubbed 8 homers.
Cuddyer leads the team in plenty of these hitting categories, including OPS, wOBA and wRC+. He even holds the second highest ISO on the team, coming in just behind Carlos Gonzalez. All of the stats I just mentioned also rank in the top 10 in the Majors (OPS 4th, wOBA 4th, wRC+ 10th, ISO 8th). Now, of course due to his injury, Cuddyer's numbers come from a comparatively small sample size of just 151 plate appearances, but even so what he's done in those appearances has been impressive. I mean come on he's even compiled a 5.0 speed score! He's stolen 64 bases in his life and he isn't exactly gifted with speed... that's not too shabby. Of course, this isn't actually all that impressive since it ranks about 70th in baseball... but at least it shows he's competent on the bases I suppose.
Despite small samples all around, Cuddyer has produced in plenty of ways and in situations where it matters. The impressive thing about these numbers is he's hitting equally well in just about all situations. His overall average is relatively consistent with the situations above, as are some other stats like OPS and wRC+. One impressive stat that jumps out from the above is his 8.5% strikeout rate with runners in scoring position, compared to 17.9% in all situations. He's doing an excellent job of getting the bat on the ball with men in scoring, which is certainly a positive thing.
I'm sure Rockies nation is aware of how good this guy is, but it's a shame he isn't quite getting as much credit across the league. He is absolutely raking in 2013, and people around baseball should begin to take more notice.
And now, a GIF. Hooray 5.0 speed score!!!