The time has finally come. After an impressive 10-year streak, it appears that the Rockies will not have a player receive the starting nod for the 2021 MLB All-Star game. The first phase of voting for the Midsummer Classic concluded on June 24, with only the top three vote recipients (top nine for outfielders) at each position moving on to the final phase to decide the starters. Since no Rockies player appears to be in the mix for that honor of moving on, it seems right to look back on the previous decade of Rockies All-Star game starters.
2010: Ubaldo Jiménez
It’s not often that a pitcher for the Rockies makes the All-Star Game, let alone get penciled in as the starter, but such a thing happened in 2010 for Ubaldo Jiménez. The Rockies’ right-hander was virtually unhittable in the first half of the 2010 season. Leading up to mid-July, Jiménez was 16-2 with a 2.20 ERA, 113 strikeouts, an opponent batting line of .198/.280/.302, and let’s not forget the no-hitter he tossed against the Atlanta Braves in April. In his lone appearance as an All-Star, Jiménez did not disappoint in his match-up with David Price. In two innings of work, Jiménez faced eight batters and allowed two hits while striking out one and walking one.
2011: Troy Tulowitzki
The voting for the National League starting shortstop was a heated battle between the Mets’ José Reyes and the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki. Reyes eventually won the starting nod, but due to an injury he was unable to participate in the game, and so the lot fell to Tulo. In the first half of the 2011 season, Tulo batted .268/.337/.488 with 17 homers, and not to mention his stellar defense at the position. In his first All-Star game start, Tulo batted eighth and went 1-for-2 on the day. Not too shabby for a “by default” start.
2012: Carlos González
Carlos González wasn’t voted by the fans to start the 2012 All-Star game in Kansas City but garnered a starting spot thanks to Tony LaRussa choosing him to serve as the designated hitter for the National League. Heading into the All-Star break, González was batting a strong .330/.389/578 with 17 home runs while driving in 53 runs. Batting lead-off in his first All-Star game, González would go 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the National League’s 8-0 victory.
2013: Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos González, Michael Cuddyer
After several years of just one starter, the Rockies sent a trifecta of players to New York to start the All-Star Game. González, in his second All-Star Game, won the start in left field after batting .302/.370/.610 with 25 long balls. Tulowitzki, in his third All-Star appearance, was the starting shortstop after batting .332/.400/.608 with 16 homers in just 64 games. Finally, Michael Cuddyer, in just his second All-Star Game was chosen as the designated hitter for the National League in a resurgent 2013 where he batted .330/.391/.568 with 16 homers. Unfortunately for Rockies fans, the trio went 0-for-5 with a Cuddyer walk in the game, but it was still a glorious sight to see multiple Rockies in the starting lineup.
2014: Troy Tulowitzki
Tulowitzki not only tallied his fourth All-Star nod, but also his third start, and the first time he did it in consecutive years. Tulo obtained the start thanks to his otherworldly .345/.435/.613 batting line in the first-half where he also smacked 21 homers. In the game itself, Tulo went 1-for-3 with a strikeout, managing a double in the fifth inning off of Max Scherzer in what would be his final All-Star Game start with the Rockies.
2015: DJ LeMahieu
A common theme among some of these starters is that they were selected by the manager to be in the lineup. Despite not finishing in the top five for fan voting, DJ LeMahieu was selected for the All-Star team after the vote by players and coaches. He was then inserted into the starting lineup as an injury replacement for Dee Strange-Gordon who had won the starting vote. At the time, LeMahieu was batting .311/.365/.397 and playing stellar defense, but went hitless in the game in two at-bats.
2016: Carlos González
Once again, injuries opened the door for a Rockies player to come in as a replacement starter. Due to elected starters Dexter Fowler and Yoenis Céspedes being injured, González was slated to start in left field where he went 1-for-2 in the game. He earned his initial reserve spot thanks to a quality first half in which he hit for a .318 batting average along with 19 homers and 19 doubles.
2017: Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon
It’s hard to believe that Nolan Arenado didn’t get his first All-Star Game start at third base until 2017. Arenado impressed voters by batting .301/.351/.554 with 17 homers, but mostly due to his wizardry on defense as he made highlight after highlight at the hot corner. The votes paid off as he went 2-for-2 in the Midsummer Classic with a pair of singles. Charlie Blackmon also got his first start in the game as the elected center fielder thanks to a torrid batting line of .316/.370/.580 out of the leadoff spot in which he also launched 20 homers and slugged 17 doubles and 10 triples. Unfortunately, Blackmon went 0-for-3 in the game with a strikeout.
2018: Nolan Arenado
In his second consecutive game as an elected starter, Arenado took a step back in the game and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. His season up to that point was a doozy, however, as he blasted 23 homers and 23 doubles while driving in 68 to the tune of a .312/.395/.586 batting line. His pal Trevor Story ended up with a homer late in the game to redeem the Rockies players, but the National League still lost 8-6.
2019: Nolan Arenado
Closing out the list is Arenado once again. Even though the Rockies sent a whopping four players to Cleveland for the festivities, only Arenado was elected to start. He repeated his success from 2018 by batting .312/.377/.562 and launching 20 homers and continuing to play fantastical defense. In his final All-Star appearance as a Rockie, he once again went hitless in the game.
The end of an era
Since the 2020 All-Star game was canceled, the Rockies tradition of having a starter in the game is in jeopardy in 2021. While we won’t know who the reserve players will be until July 4, we can only hope guys like Raimel Tapia or Ryan McMahon have a stroke of luck and end up as a replacement or designated hitter. Regardless, what a joy it has been for Rockies fans to enjoy such a streak of players being recognized in such a significant way.
★ ★ ★
Joe Nguyen runs down a quick list of the notable Rockies having success in 2021 that could be the representative for the team at Coors Field this season. Personally speaking, Ryan McMahon seems like the most likely to get that designated thanks to his strong performance this season, especially in the absence of Nolan Arenado.
With June coming to an end, trade rumors are only going to continue to swirl around the Colorado Rockies. Notably, the Brewers may be in need of a first baseman, and C.J. Cron seems like an ideal candidate that the team could use in the competitive National League Central division.
On the farm
José Briceño was the hero of the night in Albuquerque, delivering a game tying homerun in the eighth followed by a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth. Ian Clarkin started for the Isotopes, tossing four scoreless innings and scattering five hits. Tate Scioneaux came in relief and struggled to throw strikes, issuing four walks and allowing four runs. Connor Joe, Alan Trejo, Rio Ruiz, and Taylor Motter all had multi-hit nights to drive the offense.
The offense came alive late for both teams as Hartford dropped another one to Richmond. With a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, Yoan Aybar came in to nail down the save for Hartford but gave up a walk to start the inning followed by a two-run blast by Frankie Tostado that was the difference-maker in the ball game. On the night, the Yard Goats tallied three runs on nine hits, including three doubles and Max George’s third home run of the year.
Spokane hammered out 17 hits on the night en route to their 9-3 victory over Hillsboro. Among the highlights for Spokane, Isaac Collins contributed a four-hit night, scoring three runs and driving in two. Chris McMahon got the starting nod, allowing one run on three hits through five strong innings.
A solid bullpen effort secured Fresno’s 29th victory of the season as they defeated Visalia 7-5. Mike Ruff struggled for Fresno through 3 1⁄3 innings allowing four runs on six hits while striking out five. The bullpen managed to work around a lot of traffic, allowing only one run. Ezequiel Tovar led the way offensively with two hits, including his seventh homerun of the season.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!