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2011 Fantasy outlooks: Colorado Rockies

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The 2010 Rockies hung around the playoff race until mid-September, but crashed and burned with a season-ending eight-game losing streak. Despite the poor ending, many will remember last season as the year when three of Colorado's mainstays became superstars. Ubaldo Jimenez's red-hot first half placed him in consideration for the National League Cy Young award, Troy Tulowitzki joined Hanley Ramirez to form a two-headed shortstop elite, and Carlos Gonzalez became an MVP candidate and a household name.

Tulo and CarGo both project as first-round picks, and Jimenez should be one of the first dozen pitchers off the board, but the Rockies offer much more to Fantasy owners than just their Big Three. Like Tulowitzki and Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Ian Stewart and Eric Young are all under the age of 27, and all have something to prove this season. Fowler could still develop into the on-base and stolen base threat he was in the minors, as could Young, though he first has to beat out Jose Lopez and Jonathan Herrera for the second base job. Stewart has already shown his ability to clout homers, though his good batting averages from Triple-A have yet to translate to the majors.

Jhoulys Chacin, 23, showed last season that he is an emerging pitching talent, though he will have to show that he can strike out a batter per inning over his first full major league season this year. Jimenez's and Chacin's efforts will be supported by a solid bullpen, which got a little deeper with the acquisition of Matt Lindstrom from Houston. He will join Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle as potential set-up men for closer Huston Street.

The Rockies are not without their problems, as Todd Helton has posted supbar numbers in two of the last three years, and starting pitchers Aaron Cook and Jason Hammel will have to show that they can bounce back from disappointing seasons. Even so, the Rockies should be well-represented on most draft lists this spring.

Bust ... Jorge De La Rosa, SP

Had De La Rosa pitched a full season last year, he would have worked his way into the Top 60 starting pitchers in Fantasy. His success was owed to a career-low 1.32 WHIP, but he benefitted from an usually-low .104 batting average by opponents on flyballs in play. That low average was not only out of line with his past rates but also those of his teammates. Over a larger sample of innings, expect De La Rosa to give up more hits, putting a strain on both his ERA and WHIP, making him a riskier choice, even as a late-rounder in standard mixed leagues.

Bounce-back player ... Jason Hammel, SP

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Statistically speaking, Hammel was exactly the same pitcher last year that he was in 2009. Yet despite posting nearly-identical strikeout, walk, home run, ground ball and line drive rates, his ERA jumped nearly half a run. Blame the increase on a left-on-base rate that fell by four percentage points. That might not sound like a big change, but that alone was enough to wreak havoc on his ERA. Look for Hammel to get his ERA back in the low 4.00s, which will help him to regain relevance in standard mixed leagues this season.

Late-round flier ... Seth Smith, OF

Smith started more than 100 games for the first time in his career last year, but he didn't make as much out of the opportunity as many observers thought he would. Much of the focus wound up on Smith's .246 batting average, which was 47 points below the previous year's, but his extra-base power was every bit as apparent as it had been earlier in his major and minor league careers. His track record shows that he is a much better hitter than his overall batting average and .259 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) show. Because he struggles against lefties, Smith won't play enough to merit a middle-round pick, but his power and potential for a .280-plus batting average make him a good player to target in the late rounds in mixed leagues.

Colorado Rockies Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Eric Young 2B 1 Ubaldo Jimenez RH
2 Dexter Fowler CF 2 Jorge De La Rosa LH
3 Carlos Gonzalez RF 3 Aaron Cook RH
4 Troy Tulowitzki SS 4 Jhoulys Chacin RH
5 Todd Helton 1B 5 Jason Hammel RH
6 Seth Smith LF Alt Felipe Paulino RH
7 Ian Stewart 3B
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Chris Iannetta C CL Huston Street RH
Top bench options SU Rafael Betancourt RH
R Ty Wigginton 1B/2B/3B RP Matt Lindstrom RH
R Ryan Spilborghs OF RP Matt Belisle RH
R Jose Lopez 3B RP Matt Reynolds LH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2010 high Destination
1 Wilin Rosario 22 C Double-A Triple-A
Power-hitting catcher could arrive in '11 and challenge Iannetta, but he must first recover from a knee injury.
2 Tyler Matzek 20 SP Class A Class A
Was effectively wild in his professional debut and has the potential to reach the majors in 2012.
3 Nolan Arenado 19 3B Class A Class A
At least a year or two away from the majors, his power potential makes him an attractive pick in keeper leagues.
4 Rex Brothers 23 RP Double-A Triple-A
Hard-throwing lefty profiles as a future closer and should make his big league debut sometime this year.
5 Christian Friedrich 23 SP Double-A Triple-A
Could debut this season and fare well immediately, but only if he can keep his elbow issues at bay.
Best of the rest: Peter Tago, SP; Kyle Parker, OF; Juan Nicasio, SP; Chad Bettis, SP; Hector Gomez, SS; Albert Campos, SP; Charlie Blackmon, OF; Chris Nelson, 2B; Casey Weathers, RP; Tim Wheeler, OF; Jordan Pacheco, C; Rafael Ortego, OF; Rob Scahill, SP; Mike McKenry, C; and Cory Riordan, SP.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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Player News
Report: Orioles sign Mark Hendrickson to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:28 pm ET) The Orioles have signed Mark Hendrickson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, CSNBaltimore.com reports.

Hendrickson, who last pitched in the majors in 2011, spent 2014 with York of the independent Atlantic League, posting a 1.54 ERA and 34:11 K:BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings over 55 appearances.


Rangers' Matt Harrison expects to open season on 60-day DL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:27 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said Saturday that he expects to open the season on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from spinal fusion surgery, the Dallas Morning News reports.

"My job is to just get as healthy as I can and get myself right so I don’t have something happen like it did last year when I tried to come back," Harrison said. "I’m just going to focus on that and get ready to contribute whenever it may be."

Harrison is dealing with some stiffness in his right side, which will cause him to throw from a distance of 90 feet for a second consecutive week rather than progress to 105 feet. He hopes that he'll get his hips to rotate more and loosen up with more stretching and more throws from the 90-foot distance.


Report: Rays sign Ronald Belisario to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:23 pm ET) The Rays have signed pitcher Ronald Belisario to a minor-league deal with an invitiation to spring training, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Belisaro made 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014, posting a 4-8 record, 5.56 ERA and 47:18 K:BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. He'll compete for a bullpen spot during the spring.


Dodgers SP Zack Greinke hasn't decided whether to opt out
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:12 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said Saturday that he's yet to decide whether to opt out of his contract at the end of next season but added, "There's not really better options anywhere besides here," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greinke is set to make $23 million in 2015, and he's due another $71 million over the following three seasons if he remains under his current contract. The Dodgers said earlier this offseason that they wouldn't discuss a contract extension with the pitcher during the winter.

Greinke went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 207:43 K:BB ratio in 202 1/3 innings in 2014.


Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hoping to bounce back in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:20 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez can't wait to get on the field and get past the 2014 season.

"I can’t wait," Jimenez said at Saturday’s FanFest event. "Whatever happened in 2014 is in the past. There's nothing I can do about it now. I can just look forward and now I’m going to do everything in spring training to get myself ready the best I can for the season and help the team."

Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Baltimore in 2014, went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 125 1/3 innings pitched. 

"It was pretty hard, coming in with a new team and signing a contract like that and not to do what everyone is expecting you to do, it’s hard," Jimenez said. "It’s hard not to be there for the team, but regardless what happened, I fought a lot. I think I was trying to find a way to survive to be there for the team and do whatever I can do the best. We got really far. I didn’t help a lot, but I tried to do whatever I could with whatever I had."


Royals' Alex Gordon plans to take it slow in recovery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is still recovering from his wrist surgery this offseason and plans to take it slow in his rehab.

"We really don’t have a timetable," Gordon said. "We’re just going to see how it feels. Obviously, it’s spring training. So we don’t want to rush anything. If it feels good, we’ll be aggressive with it. But if it’s not feeling good, we’ll take it slow."

Manager Ned Yost wants to continue to take things slow with Gordon.
"We’ll just take it slow," Yost said. "We’ll see how he feels. We’ll play him one day. Then we’ll give him a day off. Play him another day, five or six innings, then give him a day off. We’ll just see how he’s doing."
Gordon hit .266 in 2014 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI.

Angels, Garrett Richards settle on $3.2 million for 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:32 pm ET) The Angels and pitcher Garrett Richards have agreed to a contract for 2015 for $3.2 million, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Richards was asking for $3.8 million while the Angels offered $2.4 million. Richards posted a 13-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts for Los Angeles.


Orioles' Manny Machado expects to be ready for spring training
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:18 pm ET) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is progressing through his rehab and says he's "ready to roll" for the upcoming season.

"I have a lot of time to get ready. That is the key: having a regular offseason," Machado said Saturday. "Was doing my rehab in Sarasota and then went to Miami to do my regular weightlifting and get ready for the season. Been exciting. Looking forward to spring training."

Machado has taken part in baseball activities for the past few weeks since having surgery on Aug. 27 after tearing a ligament in his knee.

"It will be awesome," he said of the prospect of having a normal spring. "I'm dying to get back on the field. Spring training is key for a lot of players to get your at-bats and your reps. I think some take it for granted but it's a very big key for success for the year."

Machado hit .278 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI for Baltimore.


Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:24 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


Orioles' Chris Davis calls using Adderall in 2013 'a moment of weakness'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:56 am ET) Orioles first baseman Chris Davis told reporters Saturday he was denied an exemption for Adderall in 2013 but he took it anyway.

"It was a moment of weakness," Davis said. He was diagnosed with ADD in 2008 and it isn't a performance enhancer for someone who needs it for medical reasons, according to Davis.

"For me, it was off the field, just an everyday life thing," he said. "I was a little overwhelmed, just kind of with everything that was going on with the (oblique) injury. There were a lot of different things that were taking my focus away from baseball. It was a mistake that I wish I could undo, but I can't, so I've just got to move forward."

Davis has one game remaining on his 25-game suspension for amphetamines, which he test posted for in September last year. He finished with a .196 batting average with 26 home runs and 72 RBI.


 
 
 
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