The big blast may make the big bucks and pitching may win championships but there’s nothing more exhilarating to watch on a baseball diamond than a great defensive play.

They’ve had quite a few tremendous defenders over their 30 years of existence and narrowing down this list was quite a challenge so let’s begin with an…

Honorable Mention: Neifi Perez

The winner of the National League Gold Glove at shortstop in the year 2000, Perez holds a special place in many Rockies’ fans hearts. Always a light hitter, he was a fantastic athlete who played in over 1400 MLB games and had a 12 year career almost entirely because of the value he brought on defense. 

He ranks seventh on the All-Time Rockies defensive WAR charts despite playing just 5 and a half seasons in Denver. He did it all on D and always did it with a smile.


10. Tony Wolters

His fantastic framing and blocking were backed up by a middle-infielder skillset that allowed him to hop out of the crouch and make plays in the field as well as any catcher in recent memory. His savviness to call pitches and navigate lineups while working with an incredibly young pitching staff were vital to his team’s success in 2017 and 2018, and his ability to throw out would-be base-stealers while sporting a phenomenal mustache earned him one of the best catchphrases in franchise history: “You don’t dash on the stache.”


9. Todd Helton

The Toddfather not only did everything a first baseman needs to do at a high level, he inspired confidence in his infield teammates (several of whom are on this list) to become the best versions of themselves.

The three-time Gold Glover probably should have won a few more and his defense is one of the biggest contributing arguments to a Hall-of-Fame case on the brink of success.

When you compare him to fellow sluggers of his time, or even other first baseman enshrined in Cooperstown, Helton’s glove stands out as among the very best. 


8. Trevor Story

Story brought all the skills to the table as the Rockies shortstop for 6 seasons. 

One of if not the best pure athlete in franchise history, Trev was Nominated for a Gold Glove in 2019 after putting up 21 defensive runs saved. He ranks 4th in Rockies history for defensive WAR.

He could make every play, especially the ones that required his elite speed to range into the outfield and had a knack for making some of the most amazing tags you have ever seen.


7. Ryan McMahon

McMahon is climbing this list at a breakneck pace.

He has yet to win one but has been nominated for three consecutive Gold Gloves while placing in the Top 2 in Defensive Runs Saved at third base in each of those years.

He is already sixth in franchise history in Defensive WAR and has the unique ability of being able to get it done at both third and second base.


6. DJ LeMahieu

A three-time Gold Glove winner, LeMahieu is easily the best second baseman in Rockies history. Never especially loved by the advanced metrics outside of 2017 and 2018, putting up 14 and 18 DRS respectively, he is inarguably one of the most sure-handed defenders in the game. 

LeMahieu has never made more than nine errors in a season and seven times in his 11- year career he has made four or fewer blunders on the year. That gives him a career fielding percentage of .991.


5. Clint Barmes

Arguably the most underrated defender in Rockies history, Barmes never won a Gold Glove. In fact, he was never even nominated for one. And that’s a true misfire by the voters when you consider his monster numbers, eclipsing 100 defensive runs saved in his career. Only the top player on this list has amassed more. 

Barmy finished Top 5 in the NL in Defensive WAR five times and came in first once. He averaged over 15 DRS per season at shortstop which is better than Omar Vizquel who is making a Hall of Fame case based on defense alone. Playing mostly in an age where offensive struggles could blind fans and media to defensive prowess, a closer examination of the career of Clint Barmes reveals a true genius with the glove.


4. Carlos Gonzalez

You won’t find CarGo on too many defensive WAR or DRS lists but you will find him roaming the nightmares of baserunners looking to take that extra bag. One of the best runners and throwers in team history and of his era, Gonzalez played all three spots in the most difficult outfield in baseball for over a decade with a grace that made it look easy. He had a propensity for the spectacular and the athletic ability to do just about anything that any outfielder could do.

He’s got 3 Gold Gloves on the mantle and should probably have more.


3. Larry Walker

We don’t have advanced defensive stats for Walker’s era but anyone who watched him play also knows that he didn’t win 7 Gold Gloves by accident or mistake.

As suspect as that award could be in the 90s, the newly enshrined Hall of Famer had the best arm of any Rockie ever and probably of anyone in his generation. Sorry Vladdy. His athletic instincts were preternatural. His tools rated off the charts. In a sea of Rockies players who have been overlooked and lost in the shuffle to the rest of the league, Larry Walker was respected… Larry Walker was feared.

The only thing that keeps him from being higher on the list is that right field isn’t as important as well… 


2. Troy Tulowitzki

At his absolute peak, nobody in Rockies history was a more valuable defender than Tulo. His 2007 is easily the best single season performance in franchise history and truly one of the greatest by any ballplayer in recent times. His 3.1 defensive WAR from that season was a full 1.2 wins more than the second best defender in the National League.

In 834 chances he committed just 11 errors; a fielding percentage of .987. Those are literally Ozzie Smith numbers. Only 3 times did the Wizard of Oz get to more balls in play in a year but all three times he made over 20 errors. Only twice did Ozzie post a fielding percentage as good as Tulo’s in 2007 (and he never bettered that mark) and in both of those seasons he had far fewer chances.

It all amounted to a whopping 31 DRS for Tulowitzki, which is eight better than second place in Rockies history. He did not win the Gold Glove that year.

Of course, injuries, especially to the hips, would stop him from ever reaching that level again but even a less-than-100-percent Tulo was still able to go on to win a pair of Gold Gloves and amass 94 career defensive runs saved.


1. Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado might well be, simply put and without over exaggeration, the greatest third baseman who has ever played baseball.

He has so many defensive awards, 10 consecutive Gold Gloves. 4 Platinum Gloves. 4 Fielding Bible Awards. And those are just the major ones.

He has essentially invented a new way of playing the hot corner. He does things on a weekly basis that there are no stats for. Where we do have stats, he’s got 15.6 dWAR as a Rockie, tops all time, and an eye-popping 137 Defensive Runs Saved. 

He succeeds at making plays most other guys, regardless of position, wouldn’t even consider attempting. 

In individual seasons, others have risen to challenge for his crown, but over the entire course of his year career, and perhaps throughout history, Nolan Arenado has been peerless on defense.