Rosario's rookie season setting Rockies records

Rosario's rookie season setting Rockies records

DENVER -- As the Rockies have entered the final days of the season with an eight-game losing streak and a skid during which they've lost 15 of 17, rookie catcher Wilin Rosario has offered a beacon of hope, emerging as a viable Rookie of the Year candidate while passing stars like Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki in the Rockies' record book.

Over his past 11 games, Rosario has raised his batting average 20 points to .269, putting together seven multi-hit games including his last three straight games with three hits a night.

"I feel very comfortable right now with what I'm doing," Rosario said after a 3-for-4 Saturday night. "I feel really [selective]. I don't want to swing at every pitch. I try to get my pitch, and to hit on both sides of the field. I'm enjoying what I'm doing right now."

He had reason to enjoy his 26th homer run of the season as it sailed into the left-field seats Saturday night, giving the Rockies the lead and Rosario the all-time Rockies rookie record, surpassing Helton's 1998 mark of 25 homers. Tulowitzki was second on the list with 24, but Rosario passed him four days earlier.

"I feel like I can be on the list with those guys," Rosario said. "When you put Helton and Tulo [on the list], you need to put my name [on] too. It's impressive. The emotion I have right now is something crazy -- I can't explain."

The late surge, hitting .304 in August and .324 in September, has launched Rosario into legitimate consideration for the National League Rookie of the Year honors. He has the fourth most homers by a Major League rookie catcher ever and the most since Mike Piazza set the bar with 35 in 1993. He leads all National League rookies in homers, RBIs (68), and slugging percentage (.532), and among Major League rookies he trails only the Angels' Mike Trout, who has 28 home runs with an additional 159 at bats entering play Sunday.

"I don't think about [winning the Rookie of the Year]," Rosario said. "I have a lot of good players in front of me. I only want to play and enjoy [the game]. If I get the Rookie of the Year this year, I'm going to be pretty happy. If it happens, that's good. If it doesn't, that's good too."

Rosario hasn't quite created the buzz that Helton and Tulo sparked in their inaugural campaigns in Colorado, despite having numbers to claim their company and to match any catcher to ever suit up in purple pinstripes. His 26 home runs as a catcher are a Rockies record for a catcher, having breezed past Charles Johnson's 20 (2003) on Aug. 27.

Rosario's struggles have come on defense, where he's made 13 errors and had 20 passed balls. The Rockies previous franchise record for passed balls for one catcher in a season was 12, and Rosario has more this season than 28 Major League teams, bested only by the Mets, who have 29 passed balls while dealing with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's hard-to-handle stuff.

On the other hand, his catcher's ERA is a half run lower than the Rockies' other backstops, and he has a 33 percent caught stealing record, having thrown out 23, the most by a National League rookie since the Dodgers' Russell Martin caught 25 in 2006.

"I feel pretty happy," Rosario said. "Not because I broke the record of both those very good players. It's because the time and opportunity that the team gave me. I've made a lot of mistakes, and they keep pushing me to get better. They've stayed with me. I feel pretty happy about it."