Many big league teams look on in envy of the Colorado Rockies outfield, and for good reason. The outfield is a young and talented group featuring Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, and the resurrected Michael Cuddyer. The three-headed monster that patrols the outfield in Coors Field boasts an impressive combined .310/.382/.556 batting line. They have also combined for 46 home runs, 134 RBI, and 150 runs this season. They are the catalyst of an offense that is in the top five of multiple batting statistics. With numbers like these, not only have the Rockies found themselves near the top of the NL West, but they field one of the most productive offensive outfields in Major League Baseball.
Enter veteran outfielder Xavier Nady, recently acquired from the Kansas City Royals Triple-A affiliate Omaha. Nady will start his time for the Rockies in Colorado Springs, where he will look to impress Triple-A evaluators and eventually arrive in Denver. When he makes the Rockies lineup, he’ll bring with him 11 years of well-traveled big league experience and a reliable bat from the right side of the plate. A career .270/.324/.432 hitter, Nady’s experience, coupled with a powerful right-handed bat gives the Rockies lineup some protection and versatility as they continue to chase down a spot in this year’s Fall Classic.
With a rare left-hand dominant hitting lineup, the Colorado Rockies take a step towards avoiding matchup difficulties the last half of the season. Nady offers them a seasoned and reliable option. Nady, who has also seen time at first, may even be placed in the lineup without having to remove Cuddyer, Fowler, or Gonzalez. Nady’s acquisition may allow Walt Weiss to give Todd Helton more time off.
Helton has been a shell of his former self this season, and in what is expected to be his last year playing baseball, the Rockies need to find a way to get more consistent offensive production from first base. Extra rest will give Helton the chance to stay healthy as the Rockies push for October.
More importantly, Nady, who has batted .310/.382/.486 with Triple-A Omaha this season, brings much needed right-handed power to the Rockies lineup. Bill Geivett, Rockies’ vice president of baseball operations recognized the need for a right-handed power hitter, “…look at the complexion of our outfield, there is a lot of left-handed bats, so this adds a right-handed guy to the mix.” Nady has over 100 home runs throughout his career, and in a home run hitting ballpark like Coors Field, he has the potential to add to that total.
With Troy Tulowitzki recently resuming baseball activities as he heals from his broken ribs, the addition of Nady may provide a little fresh energy for the Rockies lineup. Nady may be the kind of second-wind they’ll need to keep them in the hunt for a division title. Colorado has received praise for their investment on the aging Cuddyer who has responded with the best statistical season of his career thus far. They continue to wait for the return on investment from veteran Roy Oswalt as a starter in their struggling rotation. And it appears the Rockies hope to squeeze the last bit of production out of another veteran, and Nady might be one of the best fits for Colorado right now. If Nady can keep producing like he has this season in Omaha, there is no doubt he’ll find his way in the Rockies lineup soon; especially as Dexter Fowler continues to nurse his injured wrist.
The only question that Rockies fans are asking now is even with the addition of Nady, “can the Rockies hit well enough to protect their pitching staff fraught with inconsistency and underachievement the rest of the season?”