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2011 Rockies Player Reviews: Ryan Spilborghs

Spilly, Spilly, Spilly. Owner of the Sweet Escape AB music, absurd facial hair configurations, director of the 2007 Rockies movie, and author of SpillySlam: The Greatest Rockies Moment Since 2007.

Ryan Spilborghs first came to the majors in 2005, going 2-for-4 in 4 plate appearances. He made more of an extended debut in 2006, playing 67 games and batting a very respectable .287/.337/.431. 2 years later, Spilly peaked, posting a .313/.407/.468 batting line, having more or less solidified himself as a starting-ish outfielder. The fact that he batted righty amongst players like Carlos Gonzalez and Brad Hawpe in 2009 got him more playing time, but his .705 OPS made many Rockies fans kind of wonder what value was there beyond a platoon partner.

Well, the funny thing is that Spilly never really showed that crazy of a platoon split like you'd expect a RHB to - crushing lefties, spelling Seth Smith, being goofy in a part-time fashion. He was a great clubhouse guy, never really more than a 4th outfielder, but 2011 was going to change that.

It didn't.

Over the course of 98 games (41 starts), Spilly posted a .210/.283/.305 batting line, good for a a 51 wRC+ (suggesting he was 49% below the average bat), fielded poorly, and generally hurt the Rockies the entire season. His history of being a positive player for the Rockies kept him in the majors (outside of a 10-game stint in August in AAA Colorado Springs), along with the fact that there wasn't really a minor league RHB pushing to make his mark in the majors.

The most interesting part of Spilly's career, outside of the general on-field highlights, was the fact that he hired Scott Boras as an agent. When we hear the name Scott Boras, it's immediately linked to devil horns, dollar signs, and disloyalty. But Spilborghs' interest in Boras was the no-nonsense approach that Boras took with him: Spilly wasn't the kind of player who was going to last forever in MLB, so their goal was to try and get him as many off-field moneymaking opportunities as possible before his MLB days were up.

Objectively speaking, Spilborghs would get an F on the season, however you look at it. His batting line was awful, his fielding was awful, and given expectations that he'd be at least a league-average player, there's just no way to slice his 2011 but to say he failed. Even subjectively, our favorite clubhouse character didn't provide the leadership the team needed (not that it was necessarily his PLACE to, but it would've been a gold star on his report card), didn't perform in baseball terms the way anybody wanted, and generally was poorly allotted payroll.

2012: Spilborghs was non-tendered along with Cole Garner back on 12/12/11. There's still hope for him to latch on SOMEWHERE in MLB, likely through the minors first, even possibly with Colorado if he'd acquiesce to a minor league contract. The fact is that he'll be a flier for any MLB team really interested in him.

It's always sad to see a fan favorite go in this fashion, but that's baseball for you.