Colorado Rockies’ All-Time Strikeout Leaders
The Colorado Rockies have been a major league team since 1993, and they have had a few flashes of brilliance, making the playoffs two or three times. But this list of the Rockies’ all-time strikeout leaders is interesting, not because of who is on it, but because the totals are much lower than most franchises, as young as the team is or not. And that’s because the Rockies play in hitter-friendly Coors Field, where the air is thin and the ball flies out of the park much easier than in other places. So pitchers either have lousy numbers pitching for the Rockies, or they don’t stay long enough to rack up big numbers. So here is that Top 5 in strikeouts in Rockies’ history to date:
Pedro Astacio (749)—Journeyman Pedro Astacio played in Colorado from 1997 to 2001, and in that short time, racked up 749 strikeouts, which ranks him first in Rockies’ team history. Astacio had his best season in Colorado, in 1999, when he went 17-11 with a 5.04 ERA and career high 210 strikeouts.
Jason Jennings (622)—Jason Jennings began his career in Colorado, where he pitched from 2001 to 2006. Jennings ranks second in franchise history with 622 strikeouts, and he had a career high 142 K’s in 2006. But Jennings’ best season overall was 2002, when he went 16-8 with a 4.52 earned run average and 127 strikeouts.
Jeff Francis (536)—Jeff Francis has been with the Rockies his entire career, since 2004, and as I write this in 2009 Francis is on the DL and expected to miss this entire season. But he does rank third in Rockies’ history already with 536 strikeouts. Francis had his best season in 2007 when the Rockies reached the World Series, going 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA and career high 165 strikeouts.
Brian Fuentes (470)—Brian Fuentes pitched in Colorado most of his career, from 2002 to 2008, and even though he is a closer who doesn’t pitch a lot of innings, ranks fourth in team history with 470 strikeouts. Fuentes had his best season as a Rockies’ player in 2005, when despite a 2-5 record, he had a 2.91 ERA with career highs in saves (31) and strikeouts (91 in just 74 innings pitched).
Aaron Cook (422)—Aaron Cook has pitched in Colorado his entire career, from 2002 until now (2009), and he ranks fifth in franchise history with 422 strikeouts. Cook is not a strikeout pitcher per se, but very effective, and his best season so far was 2008, though he’s on pace for a slightly better season in 2009. Anyway, Cook went 16-9 with a 3.96 ERA and career high 96 K’s in 2008.