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. 7, Connor Joe: 1.6 rWAR
Connor Joe might have been my favorite part of the 2021 Rockies season. His return to baseball after overcoming testicular cancer was inspiring and he found ways to embrace every opportunity that was presented to him.
Connor Joe started the season in Triple-A Albuquerque. He was called up on May 7 and had a slow start, only slashing .241/.349/.278 before being sent back to Albuquerque at the end of June. His performance was by no means disastrous but looking at the season as a whole, his first half was far less impressive.
His return to the bigs after the All Star Game brought far more success. Joe’s first home run came on July 20, which was also the same game he rejoined the club. Some of his highlights from the second half include his two-home run game on August 8 and, my personal favorite, his first birthday as a major leaguer. He went 2-for-4 with a home run. He slashed .304/.392/.552 during the second half before a right hamstring strain ended his season early, and his slash line for the whole season was .285/.379/.469.
Connor Joe spent time in both the outfield and infield, primarily at first base and left field. He spent 32 games in left field and 14 games at first. He had two errors per position, with a .968 fielding percentage in left and a .982 at first. The versatility that he brings is definitely an asset.
He really made some incredible plays throughout the season like the one below that he made on his birthday.
Connor Joe not only had a great first season with the Rockies, but he was embraced by Colorado fans. You could hear “JOE! JOE! JOE!” chants throughout the season. I was able to speak with Joe in August and he was very grateful for the for the way the fans welcomed him and how much energy they brought. As a fan favorite, I know that I’m excited to see what 2022 holds for Joe.
Joe still has two more years of team control before he hits arbitration. If he can stay healthy, and produce like he did in the latter half of the season, Connor Joe will likely find himself a permanent spot on the roster as a utility man.