The Rockies seem to go as Troy Tulowitzki goes: a breakthrough one year, disappointing the next and then great then next year. 'Tulo is now an early round pick in Fantasy leagues -- he's more 2009/'07 than '08 -- and he might be joined by some other developing young talents.
Save for veteran Todd Helton, the Rockies figure to be a great source of breakouts and sleepers if you're looking for some players who haven't yet peaked.
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Breakout: Ian Stewart, 3B
Garrett Atkins is finally no longer in Stewart's way, and that's likely to lead to a huge breakthrough from a mid- to lower-tier third baseman, one that also happens to be eligible at second base. Stewart has room to grow in every sense and looks to us to be the next Chase Utley -- albeit more third baseman than second baseman. Stewart hit just .228 last season, but his power potential is apparent with his 25 homers. He also stole seven bases, but we could see him in double digits, perhaps even a threat for 20 if the Rockies choose to be aggressive on the bases with him lower in the order. Stewart might not open the season as a starter in every Fantasy league, but the bet here is he will finish as one.
Bust: Miguel Olivo, C
Olivo is such a bust, we don't even expect he will be the Rockies' regular catcher to start the season. Chris Iannetta is coming off a woefully disappointing year, but he should be able to relegate Olivo to a backup role sooner rather than later. Olivo is coming off a career year with the Royals, popping 23 homers, and some might expect his numbers to improve with the more favorable hitter's park in Colorado. We obviously don't believe you should be counting on Olivo as a regular in a standard Head-to-Head league. His 2009 numbers suggest otherwise.
Sleeper: Carlos Gonzalez, OF
Gonzalez has had a whirlwind few seasons, getting dealt three times in three years (from Arizona to Oakland to Colorado). He hardly proved worthy of his elite prospect status before he settled in nicely with the Rockies. And now he looks like he might finally make good on all the hype that was once bestowed on him. His second half a year ago certainly makes you believe he has turned the corner. He hit an eye-popping .320 with 12 homers, 24 RBI, 42 runs and 11 steals in 62 games and 194 at-bats. If you extrapolate that to a full season, you would get: .320-31-62-110-29. That would make Gonzalez a potential early round pick next year. It is always dangerous to assume a second half can quickly become a complete breakthrough season, though, so we cautiously project .262-20-55-73-20. Clearly he is capable of much, much more. Consider him a must-get in the middle rounds of most leagues, especially in leagues that put a premium on stolen bases.
| ||Pos.|| |
|1||Dexter Fowler||CF||1||Ubaldo Jimenez||RH|
|2||Carlos Gonzalez||LF||2||Aaron Cook||RH|
|3||Todd Helton||1B||3||Jorge De La Rosa||LH|
|4||Troy Tulowitzki||SS||4||Jeff Francis||LH|
|5||Brad Hawpe||RF||5||Jason Hammel||RH|
|6||Ian Stewart||3B||Alt||Tim Redding||RH|
|7||Clint Barmes||2B||Top bullpen arms|
|8||Chris Iannetta||C||CL||Huston Street||RH|
|Top bench options||SU||Franklin Morales||LH|
|R||Melvin Mora||3B||RP||Rafael Betancourt||RH|
|R||Miguel Olivo||C||RP||Manny Corpas||RH|
|R||Jason Giambi||1B||RP||Matt Daley||RH|
|1||Christian Friedrich||22||LH SP||High Class A||Double-A|
|He will be one of the must-watch starting pitching prospects in the first half of the season.|
|2||Jhoulys Chacin||22||RH SP||Majors||Triple-A|
|He was really wild in his debut last September, so he will bide his time in Triple-A to start the year.|
|3||Eric O. Young||24||2B||Majors||Triple-A|
|Burner could challenge the streaky Barmes for starts before the end of the year; a must-watch for Rotisserie.|
|4||Esmil Rogers||24||RH SP||Triple-A||Triple-A|
|The Rockies didn't need many rotation reinforcements last season, but Rogers can position himself this year.|
|5||Samuel Deduno||26||RH SP||Double-A||Triple-A|
|He will be part of a quality Triple-A rotation, one that could add Friedrich before the end of the season.|
|Best of the rest: Tyler Matzek, SP; Chaz Roe, SP; Wilin Rosario, C; Hector Gomez, SS; Tim Wheeler, OF; Rex Brothers, SP; Nolan Arenado, 3B; Michael McKenry, C; Charlie Blackmon, OF; Delta Cleary, OF; Casey Weathers, RP; Darin Holcomb, 3B, Christian Colonel, 3B; Shane Lindsay, SP; Connor Graham, SP; Chris Nelson, SS; Aaron Weatherford, SP; Cory Riordan, SP; Jon Herrera, 2B; Kent Matthes, OF; Joseph Sanders, 3B; Rob Scahill, SP; Ben Paulsen, 1B; Chris Balcom-Miller, SP; Tyler Massey, OF; Aneury Rodriguez, SP; Carlos Martinez, SS; Parker Frazier, SP; and Matt Reynolds, RP.|
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