Atkins during his tenure with the Rockies
December 12, 1979 |
|August 3, 2003, for the Colorado Rockies|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 25, 2010, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Runs batted in||488|
Garrett Bernard Atkins (born December 12, 1979) is a former American Major League Baseball third baseman. In 2005, his 89 runs batted in led not only the Rockies, but all major league rookies as well. In 2006, Atkins ranked in the top ten of nearly all batting categories in the National League, posting a .329 batting average with 120 runs batted in and 117 runs scored.
High school career
Atkins attended University High School in Irvine, California. As a senior, he was named the Irvine World News All-City MVP, after posting a .557 batting average, along with a school single-season record 13 home runs.
After being drafted by the New York Mets in 1997 out of high school, Atkins elected to attend college. He was recruited by Pepperdine, USC, Oklahoma State, Cal State Fullerton and UCLA, choosing the Bruins. At UCLA, Atkins majored in sociology and became the first three-time All-American. He began as a first baseman before converting to third base, where he made 51 starts in 1998. However, in 1999, his sophomore campaign, Atkins played first base again and led the team in hits. He was a teammate and roommate of Philadelphia Phillies' second baseman Chase Utley, and along with him, was one of only two Bruins to start every game. Atkins was drafted in 2000 by the Colorado Rockies in the fifth round (137th overall). This time, he signed.
Atkins made his Major League debut in 2003 and hit .159 with 0 home runs and 4 RBIs. He fared better in his second stint in the Major Leagues in 2004 hitting .357 with 1 home run and 8 RBIs. Atkins won the Rockies' third base job in 2005 but was placed on the DL with a strained hamstring before the season started. He returned in April and finished 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting after a season in which he topped NL rookies with 221 total bases, 31 doubles, 45 walks, and 45 extra-base hits. He also finished the year with a 16-game hitting streak in September. His final stat line was impressive: .287 batting average, 13 homers, and 89 RBIs. Atkins followed with two strong seasons in 2006 and 2007, where he hit a combined 54 HR and 231 RBI and took part in his only World Series, where the Rockies fell in four games to the Boston Red Sox.
In 2008, Atkins spent much of the season playing first base in the absence of injured teammate Todd Helton, marking a defensive transition to "a more natural position for him."  Prior to the start of the 2009 season, Atkins accepted a one-year $7 million contract from the Rockies. He struggled, hitting .226 with nine home runs, and 48 RBIs. With the emergence of Ian Stewart, Atkins became less of a priority in the Rockies long-term plans and was non-tendered on December 12, 2009, officially making him a free agent.
Atkins agreed to a minor league deal with the Pirates on December 23, 2010. In March 2011, Atkins was released.
Awards and honors
- Troy E. Renck (2007-03-18). "With this sweet swing, hits just keep comin' - The Denver Post". Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- "Q & A with Garrett Atkins". ColoradoRockies.com. 2006-07-24. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Gerry Fraley (2007-10-05). "The friendship baseball made : rockymountainnews.com". Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Thomas Harding (2008-08-18). "Helton's injury leaves void in clubhouse : mlb.com". Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- Thomas Harding (2009-12-12). "Rockies part ways with Atkins : mlb.com".
- Ghiroli, Brittany (2010-06-27). "Orioles designate Atkins for assignment". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Garrett Atkins.|
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
|National League Rookie of the Month
|Topps Rookie All-Star Third Baseman