25 year-old first baseman Joe Koshansky played for the same University of Virginia team as Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds. Like Reynolds he was drafted in 2004, falling (to the surprise of some) to the sixth round (pick 190).
He’s moved steadily through the Rockies system and in 2005 was named Baseball America’s Rockies Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .291/.373/.603 with 36 home runs in 453 A ball at bats. He’s maintained similar averages at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs, although his power has steadily declined. On top of that, Koshansky plays at the highest elevation of any pro park in the country.
He’s also a bit of a stikeout artist — once every four plate appearances through his minor league career. In this sense he’s the antithesis of Todd Helton, the guy currently occupying first for the Rockies. Unless Helton (signed through 2011 for a mountain of money) goes into severe mid-30s decline or is injured Koshansky is officially blocked at first.
Koshansky has said he’s open to moving to a corner outfield position, but with Brad Hawpe having signed an extension, and ongoing talks to sign Matt Holliday long term, a switch to the outfield is even less likely than getting past Helton. For the time being he’s stuck in Colorado Springs where he’s currently leading the team in both HRs and total bases to go along with a .441 OBP.
Time to cast this line out and see who’s biting. With Franklin Morales off to a terrible start and Mark Redman being Mark Redman, one would think the Rockies might be on the lookout for a starter come July. Flipping Koshansky could be the ticket. The Rox were able to snag a couple of live arms back in ’06 when they traded Ryan Shealy to KC.
Aaron Shinsano writes for East Windup Chronicle.