Who doesn’t love a Top 10 list? Well, we do! So welcome to Top 10 Tuesday, where every week we will dive into a different Rockies-related topic. These lists will not be scientific. They are 100-percent opinion (a “Mountain Viewpoint” so to speak) and — more importantly — they are 100-percent debatable. We encourage the banter in the comments (keep it respectful), and feel free to offer up some future topic ideas!
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If there is one thing the Rockies are known for, it is their ability to continuously make stellar defensive plays. Making this list was nowhere near easy, especially considering how many jaw-dropping plays Nolan makes regularly. However, I did my best and would love to know what your favorite defensive plays are down in the comments.
No. 10: Todd Helton hidden-ball pickoff
Although this play isn’t the most skillful on the list, the three-time Gold Glove winner used an old, classic trick to tag an unsuspecting Matt Carpenter out at first. After the pitcher attempted a pickoff at first base, Helton pretended to throw the ball back but instead waited for Carpenter to step off the bag. Not a good look for Carpenter or the first base coach. But, it’s just one of those moments that you can’t help but smile about. Watch the play here.
No. 9: Raimel Tapia robs Marlins of home run
In a close game against the Miami Marlins in Aug. 2019 where the Rockies led 4-2, Tapia saved Germán Márquez from giving up another run. This grab at the wall was perfectly timed by Tapia to steal a hit from Lewis Brinson.
No. 8: Tony Wolters backs up first base
Wolters was in the right place at the right time when it came to the final out in a one-run game against the Dodgers. Matt Kemp hit into a routine ground out to shortstop Trevor Story, but a bad throw and bad pick attempt caused the ball to sail past the glove of Ian Desmond. Luckily, Wolters was there to make the out and end the game in a thrilling way.
No. 7: Carlos González’s throw beats Buster Posey to home plate
There are many Cargo moments that could’ve made this list, but his impressive throw from right field to throw out Giants’ catcher Buster Posey at home takes the cake.
No. 6: Dexter Fowler’s over-the-wall catch
Dex sacrificing his body into the wall to get the out? That’s notable enough in my book. Fowler’s leaping grab not only got him carted off the field with minor injuries, but also sealed the win for the Rockies.
No. 5: Nolan Arenado runs 111 feet for sliding catch
It’s the distance covered for me. In the shortened 2020 season, Nolan was named defensive player of the year and earned his eighth Gold Glove. Even though I wasn’t there during voting, I’d like to believe this play had something to do with his win.
No. 4: D.J. LeMahieu slide tag
A wild throw to second by catcher Dustin Garneau turned into, what I think, is one of LeMahieu’s best plays. The way he caught the ball and applied the tag in one swift movement...D.J. just always makes it look so easy. See here for yourself.
No. 3: LeMahieu, Tulowitzki turn double play
The glove flip from D.J. to the barehand grab and pirouette by Tulo? *chef’s kiss* Now that’s what we call a perfect 4-6-3 double play.
No. 2: Nolan tarp catch
Do I even need to explain? I think this catch by Nolan is forever embedded into every Rockies fan’s mind because of how unbelievable of a grab it was. Nolan received a well deserved standing ovation from the fans at what is now named Oracle Park. Watch here!
No. 1: Tulo unassisted triple play
All three outs, by himself, in one play — almost unheard of. And at the time, he was just the 13th player in history to perform the feat. For that, he earns the top spot for this list.