Editor's Note: With the Avalanche and the Red Wings about to battle it out at Coors Field tonight, let's make one more exploration into how things might be if the Avs and the Rockies had to switch sports. Earlier in the week, we looked at the Rockies as hockey players here and the Avs as baseball players just a few hours ago at Mile High Hockey. Longtime community member Muzia looks at both in this post.
LW Ben Paulsen
C Charlie Blackmon
RW Carlos Gonzalez
D Nolan Arenado
D DJ LeMahieu
G Nick Hundley
I wanted to make sure to limit my choices to players who were on the Rockies team within the past year, so sorry Gerardo Parra. There's some decent speed up front along with some solid size on the blue line. Arenado would likely captain your power play while LeMahieu would be more a stay at home defenseman.
Hundley would be your best choice for goaltender, as much as I wanted to avoid the catcher/goalie comparison. Here? It works.
The biggest struggle is the role of the pitcher. It's such a refined and specialized set of skills that it's almost impossible to translate into other positions. Would Jon Gray make a great forward? Maybe! Would Chad Qualls dominate on the blue line? It's possible! Sorry, but no pitchers felt right in this comparison.
One last note: this is the "eureka" moment for how bad this Rockies roster will be in 2016. It's so bad that Ben Paulsen absolutely belongs in the lineup. Ben Paulsen! Aside from the traded Troy Tulowitzki, the above players were the only batters that accrued enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.
C Cody McLeod
1B Jarome Iginla
2B Carl Soderberg
3B Erik Johnson
SS Matt Duchene
LF Tyson Barrie
CF Nathan MacKinnon
RF Gabriel Landeskog
SP Francois Beauchemin
Closer Semyon Varlamov
Cody McLeod as the starting catcher was the absolute easiest choice I made. He'll get under the skin of his opponents, will play hurt and rub some dirt on his wounds, and he'll give you a gritty performance every single time he's at the plate. Aside from that, you want to build the rest of your team with speed and defense up the middle. MacKinnon roaming center field was an absolute lock. Barrie and Landeskog will give you above average skills in the corners and will probably add something with their bat as well.
For the infield, Duchene at shortstop gives you a great first step and some quickness. Soderberg just feels like a second baseman -- not great at anything but really solid at everything. I bet the guy would have a great on base percentage. Iginla can still swing the stick but is immobile, he lives at first base. Erik Johnson provides that towering power third baseman with a solid glove. He's what everyone though Ian Stewart would turn into.
And finally, the pitching. The Rockies never have a top tier guy in their rotation, depending on veterans. Beauchemin fits that description to perfection. He'll go out and fight his way through 6⅔ innings and allow four runs. He's the Eddie Harris of the team.
Finally, and most controversially, Semyon Varlamov as the shutdown closer. With his lightning quick glove and reflexes, he would probably work well behind the plate or at third base. Varlamov is money against one-on-one breakouts. If there is a player streaking towards the net, Varlamov will make the save. If it's a shootout, my money is on Varlamov every single time. That singular mindset would make him an exceptional closer. Barrel down and get this one batter out? Done. Every. Single. Time.