37-year old lefty swinging 1B Todd Helton is on the downside of his career. His back always seems to be barking as his power is gone. He played in 118 games for the Rockies last season and he was 102 of 398 (.256 avg, .728 OPS) with 48 runs scored, 8 homers and 37 RBIs. In Helton’s last three seasons, he has only averaged 55.3 runs scored, 10.0 homers and 50.7 RBIs per year and that’s just not going to get the job done. Helton had 8 errors in 118 games at 1B last season as he has started to hurt his team in the field too. I could see Helton platooning with righty swinging Ty Wigginton at 1B in 2011 or he could get beat out by him for the starting job outright.
33-year old righty swinging Ty Wigginton played in 154 games for the Orioles last season and he was 144 of 581 (.248 avg, .727 OPS) with 63 runs scored, 22 homers and 76 RBIs. Wigginton still has a lot of juice in his bat so he could beat out Helton completely and take over as the Rockies’ starting 1B in 2011 with a big spring. Wigginton is not a natural 1B as he had 10 errors in 99 games at first base for the O’s last season. Wigginton does have a lot of versatility so he’s going to likely get 500 ABs in 2011 for the Rockies even if he’s platooning at 1B.
40-year old lefty swinging Jason Giambi is back to provide some thump off the bench. Giambi played in 87 games for the Rockies last season in which he was 43 of 176 (.244 avg, .776 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 6 homers, 35 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He still has a good eye as he walked 35 times while whiffing 47 times last year. Giambi had 4 errors in 37 games at 1B for the Rockies last season and he looks like a statue over there. Giambi still has enough left to help the Rockies off the bench in 2011.
30-year old lefty swinging Mike Jacobs will also challenge for a job in 2011. He played in 120 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 128 of 469 (.273 avg, .817 OPS) with 79 runs scored, 21 homers, 91 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Jacobs also played in 7 games for the Mets last season and he was 5 of 24 (.208 avg, .671 OPS) with 1 run scored, 1 homer and 2 RBIs. Jacobs whacked 32 homers and he knocked in 93 runs as recently as 2008 with the Marlins, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him play well for the Rockies in 2011. Jacobs had 1 error in 7 games for the Mets at 1B last season and like Giambi, he’s a statue.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE ROCKIES 1B IN 2011: C