Opinion time: Which Rockies players deserve to be on the All-Star team?
Sentinel sports editor
The Colorado Rockies have never had more than three players make the All-Star Game, and it’s been done six times.
But this year’s Rockies, currently with the second-best record in MLB, deserve to get four on the National League team.
It would be a travesty if Charlie Blackmon, Mark Reynolds and closer Greg Holland aren’t on the squad.
But it’s the Rockies’ best all-around player who might be left off the team.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado currently trails Chicago’s Kris Bryant in the voting, and it’s unlikely that will change.
That means the four-time Gold Glove player will have to be selected to the team as a reserve.
Arenado’s glove work is spectacular, plus he’s having a solid if not spectacular year at the plate. He ranks in the top 10 in RBI, runs and doubles.
Oftentimes, defense is an afterthought with fans, but Arenado is the best third baseman in baseball and that should count. Playing a brilliant hot corner, he has zero errors for the season. ZERO!
Arenado, whose combination of glove and bat is unmatched in baseball, better be on the NL All-Star team.
Sentinel sports writer
Greg Holland is one of two full-team closers in Major League Baseball who has been perfect this season. He’s a spotless 23 of 23 on save opportunities. His WHIP is less than 1.00 and his ERA is nearly as low. His strikeout ratio is north of one per inning. He’s been remarkably efficient and progressed better than anyone could have ever hoped coming off Tommy John surgery.
The Rockies bet big on Holland — the 31-year-old could make as much as $35 million over two years with Colorado — and even this early into the first season, it’s paid off.
His save total already puts him among the best Rockies closers in recent memory — John Axford (25, 2015), LaTroy Hawkins (23, 2014) Rafael Betancourt (31, 2012) and Huston Street (29, 2011).
His current pace — however unlikely he is to sustain it — puts him at roughly 55 saves by the end of the season.
At best, Holland is turning in one of the most productive seasons by a closer in MLB history. But even if his production doesn’t last for the entire year, he’s well within striking distance of the Rockies’ club record, set by Jose Jimenez (41, 2002).
He’s the best player in the bullpen of the best team in the National League. It’s criminal if he doesn’t make the MLB All-Star Game.
Sentinel sports copy editor/designer
Mark Reynolds’ name is nowhere on the National League All-Star ballot. If you want to vote for the Colorado first baseman, you have to write his name in.
Reynolds re-signed with the Rockies mostly to be a veteran right-handed bat off the bench and to back up Ian Desmond.
He’s become so much more.
When Desmond went down with an injury in spring training, Reynolds stepped in and hasn’t stopped hitting. As of Tuesday, Reynolds was second in the NL in RBI with 54, has hit 17 home runs and is batting .307.
Reynolds has also played excellent defense at first base, forcing Desmond to move to left field.
Among first basemen in the National league, only Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman are having better seasons.
The Sheriff of Swattingham deserves to be an All-Star, but he is facing an uphill battle. Reynolds has been a big reason the Rockies are one of the best teams in the NL and he should be rewarded with a trip to Miami in July.
Sentinel sports writer
The argument for Charlie Blackmon to make the All-Star team? It would be much, much harder to find an argument for him not to make it.
If Blackmon were to maintain the offensive production he’s had this season, he’d be an easy candidate for the National League’s Most Valuable Player. According to ESPN, he’d be a .335 hitter with 36 home runs, 19 triples, 216 hits and 128 RBI.
But let’s be realistic. Who puts up those kind of numbers anymore?
Focusing on what he’s doing now, he came into Tuesday’s game at Pittsburgh on a 10-game hitting streak — his second one of the season — while compiling a .392 batting average since May 12. Needless to say, he’s easily following up on the Silver Slugger award he won last season from the leadoff spot and not as a guy batting No. 3 , 4 or 5 in the lineup.
Plus, he’s gaining fanfare as a player that regular, every-day people can relate to. He’s driven the same Jeep Cherokee for, as he puts it, forever. There’s even a Twitter page, @CNaztysBeard, that honors the beard he’s been growing for what seems like forever.
Granted, he’s one of the many pieces in place that have the Rockies leading the National League West. But this year, he’s a piece that might be bigger than any other.