Welcome to the 2021 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2021. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.
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No. 20, Chris Owings: 0.6 rWAR
Chris Owings was originally signed by the Rockies in December 2019 to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He broke camp with the team and became their main utility man in 2020, despite only playing 17 games after a hamstring injury effectively ended his season. He elected free agency after the season ended, but then re-signed to another minor league deal in January. He again broke camp with the team, but only played 21 games in 2021 before being shelved with a thumb injury.
Owings’ first IL stint came on April 10 with what was then called a “left thumb sprain.” He was transferred to the 60-day IL on April 18 after having played only seven games with the Rockies. During that seven-game stretch, Owings slashed went 8-for-15 (.533) with six runs scored, three doubles, three triples, three RBI, two walks, two strikeouts and two stolen bases.
Upon his return, Owings played another 14 games between June 23 and July 18. During that stretch, Owings went 6-for-28 (.214) with three runs scored, one double, one home run, two RBI, five walks (one intentional), 13 strikeouts, and was caught trying to steal one base. Owings returned to the 10-day IL on July 20 with “mallet finger of the left thumb” and was transferred to the 60-day for the second time on August 18 when he underwent surgery. He ended the season with a slash of .326/.420/.628 and a wRC+ of 158.
In total, Owings has played in just 38 games for the Rockies in two years. During that time, he slashed .298/.372/.536, posted a wRC+ of 126, and posted a DRS of -1 in all of his positions.
Owings has veteran leadership that the Rockies always value, but he has also been seemingly extra-prone to injuries during his mile-high tenure. He is once again a free agent after this season, so we’ll see if the Rockies want to bring him back and give it one more go, especially if Trevor Story walks, or if they want to take a closer look at younger players such as Alan Trejo in 2022.