Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Matt Musico
If you’ve ever wondered which hitters are the Rockies single season HR leaders at each position, then you’re in the right place. Outside of pitcher and designated hitter, each player had to qualify for the batting title. Each player also had to man their position for at least 100 games for the season in question.
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Rockies Single Season HR Leaders
Catcher: Wilin Rosario, 2012: 28 Home Runs
Wilin Rosario spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues — all with the Rockies. In many instances, none of them were better than 2012, his rookie season. Rosario debuted in 2011, but only suited up for 16 games while registering 57 plate appearances. So, his rookie status was still intact the following year.
He used that experience to post a career-high .843 OPS with those 28 homers and 71 RBI in 426 trips to the plate. Rosario finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Bryce Harper, Wade Miley, and Todd Frazier.
Rosario hit 18 of his dingers at Coors Field but hit just as many in the first half (14) as he did in the second half (14). And despite nearly 200 fewer plate appearances against left-handed pitching, his homer production vs. lefties (14) and righties (14) was split right down the middle.
Pitcher: Mike Hampton, 2001: 7 Home Runs
While Mike Hampton signed with the Rockies prior to 2001 for the “lifestyle” and “school system”, his bat also benefited from a change in scenery. He struggled to a 5.75 ERA and 1.677 WHIP in two years (381.2 innings) for Colorado. But at the plate? Hampton couldn’t be stopped.
He won two of his five Silver Slugger Awards in Colorado. It’s not like he didn’t come to Denver with a good offensive reputation, either — Hampton had already won two Silver Sluggers by the time he landed there. But between 1993 and 2000 (449 plate appearances), he had exactly zero homers. By the time his tenure with the Rockies was finished, he had hit 10 dingers.
The seven in question came in his first campaign with the club. It also included a .291/.309/.582 line and 16 RBI.
First Base: Todd Helton, 2001: 49 Home Runs
Todd Helton owns a share of the Rockies’ single-season home run record and is the all-time leader. If he wasn’t included on this list in some way, it’d be a little weird. In addition to his 49 homers, Helton also collected 146 RBI, 54 doubles, 132 runs scored, and a 1.116 OPS. It was his second straight year of hitting these benchmarks. After placing fifth in NL MVP voting in 2000, he finished ninth in 2001.
The Coors Field bias was strong here, and it probably wasn’t fair. His numbers at home were insane (.384/.478/.774 with 27 homers and 84 RBI). But it’s not like his .286/.384/.593 line with 22 dingers and 62 RBI on the road was terrible. Was there an advantage for him? Well, sure — but he still had to go out and do it.
If you want to see consistently dominant monthly splits, look no further than Helton’s 2001 campaign. He posted a 1.017 OPS in April, and that was the lowest one he’d produce all year. The only time he had fewer than 22 RBI in a month was July (17), and that probably only happened because of the All-Star break.
Helton didn’t enjoy a double-digit homer month in 2001, but he never hit fewer than eight. In fact, the only month in which he didn’t hit exactly eight was May…when he hit nine.
Second Base: Ryan McMahon, 2019: 24 Home Runs
Prior to the 2023 season, Ryan McMahon has appeared in 140-plus games three times. He’s slugged at least 20 homers on each occasion. The first — and for now, most powerful — one was in 2019 when McMahon hit 24 dingers during his age-24 campaign.
There were a couple of scenarios where he obviously thrived. One of those situations was playing at home. When suiting up at Coors Field, McMahon slashed .270/.335/.529 with 18 homers and 53 RBI. On the road, those numbers dropped to .226/.323/.358, six, and 30, respectively.
McMahon also managed to get hot after the All-Star break. He slugged 17 of his 24 dingers after the midsummer respite. The second baseman managed to hit at least four homers in a month once between April and June (four in May). He accomplished that three times between July and September (four in July, eight in August, and five in September).
Shortstop: Trevor Story, 2018: 37 Home Runs
Trevor Story burst onto the scene for Colorado in 2016, hitting 27 homers in just 97 games played. He had a harder time in 2017, failing to reach that number despite 145 games played (he hit 24 homers). But, 2018 was the start of consecutive 30-homer campaigns for the shortstop.
He was an extra-base hit machine all year, too. Story collected 42 doubles in 2018, which is currently his only campaign with 40-plus two-baggers (prior to 2023). He didn’t finish a month with fewer than four doubles and four homers, either. The majority of his homers (24) and RBI (66) came in victories, but his OPS in wins (.995) wasn’t as drastically different in losses as we’ve seen in past cases (.808).
Story spent the majority of his season either hitting fourth (259 plate appearances) or fifth (341 plate appearances) in the order. He split his homer production down the middle in this situation, hitting 17 in each scenario.
Third Base: Vinny Castilla, 1998: 46 Home Runs
Rockies home run royalty at third base involves just two dudes: Vinny Castilla and Nolan Arenado. Together, they’ve produced the top 11 (!) home run-hitting seasons at the position in franchise history. Castilla owns six of those occurrences, including the top spot.
Castilla enjoyed three seasons of 40-plus homers in his career. They all came with Colorado in consecutive years between 1996 and 1998. Obviously, ’98 was the best of all. He earned his second and final All-Star Game selection, third and final Silver Slugger Award, and his best finish in MVP voting (11th).
The third baseman enjoyed four seasons of eight-plus homers, with two of those landing in double digits (11 in April, 12 in July). He finished the year with a .319/.362/.589 line and that was mostly made possible by a three-month stretch between June and August. The Rockies went just 39-43 during these 82 games, but Castilla slashed .356/.402/.609 with 19 homers, 18 doubles, 66 RBI, and 57 runs scored.
Rockies Single Season HR Leaders
Left Field: Dante Bichette (1995) & Ellis Burks (1996): 40 Home Runs
What I love the most about these two performances is that not only did they come in consecutive seasons, but the power numbers were identical. Dante Bichette and Ellis Burks each slugged 40 home runs with 128 RBI.
Bichette finished second in MVP voting to Barry Larkin, but he did bring home his first and only Silver Slugger Award. This performance was the start of five straight years where Bichette slugged at least 20 homers with 100 RBI, all of which came for Colorado. He posted a .300 average at home and on the road, but his OPS was drastically different (1.153 vs. .802) and 31 of his 40 dingers came at Coors.
As for Burks, this outburst sort of came out of nowhere. Between 1987-95, he produced just two seasons of 20-plus homers, with his career-high being 21 in 1990. Heck, in the three years prior to this 40-homer campaign, Burks hit just 44 in 291 games (1,060 plate appearances). In ’96, he needed just 685 trips to the plate to nearly double it.
This performance also included 32 stolen bases, and he really finished with a bang. Over Burks’ final two months (218 plate appearances), he slashed .362/.413/.683 with 14 homers, 16 doubles, 45 RBI, 48 runs scored, and 11 steals. The outfielder was caught stealing just three times.
Center Field: Charlie Blackmon, 2017: 37 Home Runs
Charlie Blackmon finished fifth in NL MVP voting in 2017. He posted an even 1.000 OPS in a league-leading 725 plate appearances, and that’s not all he led baseball in that year. He took home the batting title with a .331 average, too. Blackmon found himself at the top of the leaderboard in triples (14), hits (213), runs scored (137), and total bases (387).
Not surprisingly, 13 of those 14 triples came at Coors Field. He posted an OPS of at least .900 in the first, second, and third portions of games, but the middle innings were by far his favorite. Between innings four and six, Blackmon slashed .378/.446/.700 with 14 homers and 38 RBI.
Those numbers jive with him getting better against a starting pitcher each time through the order. In their first matchup, his OPS was .825. It went up to 1.064 the second time through the order, and then it spiked to 1.255 the third time through.
Right Field: Larry Walker, 1997: 49 Home Runs
The 1997 season was an MVP performance for Larry Walker. In addition to those 49 homers, he collected 46 doubles, 130 RBI, 143 runs scored, and 33 steals. He led the league in on-base percentage (.452), slugging percentage (.720), and OPS (1.172). This was also the start of a three-year stretch where Walker never finished with a season-long batting average below .360. The outfielder hit .369 during this 410-game span and walked away with two batting titles.
Despite the monster numbers, Walker’s road OPS (1.176) was actually slightly better than his home OPS (1.169). He also slugged 29 of his 49 homers as a visiting player. His performance was incredible from start to finish. Walker flirted with history through one half of play thanks to a .398/.496/.741 triple slash prior to the All-Star break.
He enjoyed two months with a batting average above .400, but nothing was quite as good as April. Through his first 106 plate appearances (23 games), Walker slashed .456/.538/.911 with 11 homers, 29 RBI, 29 runs scored, and seven steals. That’s how you get an MVP campaign started.
Designated Hitter: Charlie Blackmon, 2022: 10 Home Runs
The 2022 version of Charlie Blackmon is much different than the 2017 version. But still, he’s got two of these franchise single-season records, so that’s worth something, right? The veteran spent 357 of his 577 total plate appearances as the Rockies’ designated hitter.
His power production was quite even between home (nine) and away (seven) games. However, all but two of his dingers came before the All-Star break. When looking at Blackmon’s monthly splits, he went through a complete power outage over the season’s final two months.
Through the end of July, he had all 16 of his homers to go along with a .469 slugging percentage and .791 OPS. From August 1 through the end of the regular season, those numbers dropped to zero, .304, and .599, respectively.