Todd Helton was one of baseball’s brightest starts when he broke on the scene in 1996 for the Colorado Rockies. From 1998 to 2007, Helton was one of MLB‘s most feared hitters. While there’s been question of Helton’s involvement with HGH and the lighter air in Denver, no one can discount how feared of a hitter and player he was in the heyday of his career.
But since 2007, Helton just hasn’t been the same player. In 2008, Helton suffered through a degenerative back injury and saw his playing time limited. He had a bit of a bounce-back season in 2009 hitting .325 with 15 HRs in 151 games, but since has been a shadow of his former self. Last season, he suffered through injuries to play in only 69 games and a .339 average with seven HRs.
Some thought he may not return this season, but Helton decided to give it another shot with new Rockies manager and former teammate Walt Weiss convinced Helton to come back for this season and most-likely his last run with the Rockies. Helton has said he wants to end his career in Colorado, and finishing the 2013 campaign on a high note would be an excellent way to end a potential Hall of Fame career.
Wait, did I say Hall of Fame? Does Helton have a chance to get to Cooperstown? I think he is squarely on the fence. Considering he spent his whole career with the Rockies in a hitter friendly ballpark, he has only hit 354 HRs and has 2420 hits. But his career average of .320 and outstanding defense at first base cannot be ignored. Helton also has a career on-base percentage of .419, which is out-of-this-world for a slugger and putting him 19th all-time on that list. If he does make the trip to the Hall of Fame, it won’t be an easy election. But he certainly will get a look.
If this is Helton’s last season, he certainly is in the conversation for one of the best players of his generation.