It’s the end of an era. With the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement, the National League will institute a universal designated hitter, effectively bringing an end to the long saga of pitchers hitting. While pitchers have generally been terrible hitters, the Rockies have had some highlights in their history that deserve a final recognition before we send them out to pasture.
Mike Hampton- The home run king
The most prolific hitting pitcher in Rockies history, Mike Hampton provided plenty of pop during his two seasons in Colorado. In 144 plate appearances, Hampton batted .324/.333/.574 with a franchise-leading 10 home runs to go along with 21 RBI. His two Silver Slugger awards are the most in team history for a pitcher, and he is just one of six pitchers to steal a base as a Rockie. His ability to hit home runs remains a notable trait as he once hit two home runs in a game against the Houston Astros and then hit another one five days later against the St. Louis Cardinals for the rare feat of homering in three consecutive at-bats.
Germán Márquez- The RBI king
While Hampton is the home run king, the RBI crown belongs to Germán Márquez. In 112 games, Márquez has batted .242/.242/.332 with two home runs and 30 RBI and is the only other Rockies pitcher to win a Silver Slugger award when he did so in 2018. He was also a finalist in 2021 for the award but, in this humble writer’s opinion, he was robbed of that honor despite having better overall stats than Max Fried. He has the honor of hitting the last home run as a pitcher for the Rockies when he blasted a home run off of Yu Darvish to dead center in San Diego in 2021, which was reminiscent of his home run against Daniel Descalso in 2018 at Coors Field. Notably, he was also quite good at dropping sacrifice bunts by totaling 32 which ranks third in team history. It’s interesting to think what else Márquez could have accomplished if pitchers were to continue hitting.
Jason Jennings- The hit king
In the history of the team, no pitcher has more hits than Jason Jennings. The former Rookie of the Year got his career started in one of the best ways possible, by tossing a shutout and hitting a home run in his big league debut. While his batting line of .214/.256/.281 pales in comparison to Hampton and Márquez, he still ranks among the best in team history. Across 340 plate appearances, Jennings totaled a franchise-best 61 hits, including two home runs and 14 doubles, while driving in 25 runs. He also is in the upper echelon of pitchers when it came to plate discipline with 16 walks and 72 strikeouts.
A myriad of information
I’ve highlighted some of the notable hitters in team history, but there is a lot of miscellaneous information that is fun to think about and deserves some brief recapping.
- Rockies pitchers have a lifetime slash line of .133/.174/.336 with 1,263 hits, including 188 doubles, 11 triples, and 49 home runs as well as 532 RBI and 554 runs scored.
- Ian Desmond is the only position player in team history to hit a home run after pitching the previous half-inning.
- Jeff Parrett tallied the first hit for a pitcher in Rockies history on April 17, 1993. The final hit was by Daniel Bard on October 3, 2021.
- Kevin Ritz has the most stolen bases in team history with two.
- Aaron Cook has scored the most runs with 25 while having the most plate appearances with 466.
- Pitchers have totaled 1008 sacrifice bunts and 31 sacrifice flies. Aaron Cook leads the team with 67 sac bunts.
- Jorge De La Rosa has the most strikeouts (149). Jeff Francis has the most walks (25).
While it’s sad to see this mainstay of baseball tradition fade away, it was time for the change to occur. The hope now turns to see if the Rockies can muster up some more offense in the lineup and get back to production in the lineup that was lacking in 2021.
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One of the notable changes coming up in 2022 and 2023 is the news schedule that will be taking place. Notably, 2023 will see MLB adopt a schedule that will see each team play at least one series against the 29 other teams. Division rivals will drop to 14 games apiece (current 19), non-division teams will face each other six times (three at home, three on the road), and interleague will consist of four interleague “rival” games (typically Rangers for the Rockies) and then one series against everyone else with half the league on the road which will then flip the following year.
The Rockies appear to have found their next shortstop for the 2022 season in José Iglesias. Whatever the Rockies chose to do following the departure of Trevor Story is bound to be a stepback, but the team has chosen to go with a veteran stopgap as they assess the position for the future. Thomas Harding gives a quick breakdown of the signing and a profile on Iglesias and how he fits into the team’s plans. For a further indepth breakdown of the player, check out our article here on Purple Row.
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