After a six-year hiatus from the Mid-Summer Classic, Todd Helton seems poised to make one final trip to the All-Star game. The 37-year-old Rockies first baseman should win the Final Vote and get back to the game he played in for five consecutive seasons in the first half of the decade.
Helton resurrected his batting average after struggling last season with a career worst .256 average. The Rockies first base has belonged to Helton for almost 15 years now. During the team’s struggles in the early 2000s, Helton shined as the saving grace of the team. Now the Rockies career leader in hits has a chance to conclude a great career with a possible final trip to the All-Star game. Of the five candidates for the final NL slot, Helton would make by far the best story as he demonstrates a shade of his former self in the twilight of his career.
Entering this season many Rockies fans questioned Helton’s ability. Some said he was too old to contribute and believed he should retire. Helton has proved those nay sayers wrong this season by returning his average to the expected Helton line of .318. While Todd’s power numbers have declined, he continues to reach base and drive in runs in the heart of the Colorado order.
The .318 average ranks first amongst final vote candidates. Andre Ethier of the Dodgers is another strong candidate for the final spot, but his numbers look better then they are. Hitting around the monsterous Matt Kemp has inflated Ethier’s stats. The same holds true for Shane Victorino who hits in front of big bats, like Ryan Howard. Victorino like Ethier has scored more runs than Helton strictly because of the lineup around him.
Michael Morse and Ian Kennedy both have compelling arguments to reach the Mid-Summer Classic. Neither player has reached the game before. Morse has surged this summer with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs. Both of those numbers surpass Helton’s in those categories. However, Morse lacks plate patience. He has walked just 14 times this summer. Helton’s OBP stands 80 points higher than Morse’s.
After seven years, it is time for Todd Helton to make one final All-Star game appearance. His numbers and comeback should receive national recognition. His plate patience, strong fielding, and veteran leadership will help the National League in the All- Star. His numbers are strong and he belongs in the Mid-Summer Classic.