The "Toddfather" had been steadily declining for the last couple of years as lingering back issues began to hamper his ability to play every day.
The guy with the 46th best batting average of all time (.324) looked like he was crumbling before our eyes. In 2008 he hit a poultry .264 in only 83 games as his back caused him to miss half a season. He played much better in 2009 before reverting back to part-time status in 2010.
With a contract that has ballooned to $20 million for 2011, Helton made the Rockies brass extremely nervous entering the season.
He was supposed to be the big question mark on an up-and-coming Colorado club.
Instead, Helton has been the most consistent player for the Rockies and is more than worthy of a spot on the squad. In fact, Helton is the only part of the team that can be deemed consistent this season.
He is currently hitting .318 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI and has played stellar defense at first base. He has been moved from the fifth spot in the order back to the three-hole—the spot in the lineup he has manned at Coors Field for almost his entire career.
Helton is working pitch counts and grinding the way a 37-year-old competing against a bunch of younger guys should be. Opponents are beginning to pitch around him again and his walks are way up. His keen eye at the plate has always been one of his best attributes.
The Rockies have disappointed in the first half because of the struggles of everyone around Helton. Nobody can figure out what's wrong with Ubaldo Jimenez and the Tommy John surgery of Jorge De La Rosa was devastating.
The struggles of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have been maddening and the rest of the lineup is begging for the team to get rid of the humidor.
Yet they still have a pulse in the National League West because of their franchise leader. A guy that already has a restaurant named after him inside the stadium, Helton is Colorado baseball and once again he is the catalyst for the Rockies.
It will be interesting to see if he can keep up this impressive pace in the second half of the season. Will his back hold up?
While nobody can answer that, the question surrounding Helton's talent has been answered. Even at the age of 37, Helton is still getting the job done and is certainly a worthy selection in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game.
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