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2012 Fantasy outlooks: Colorado Rockies

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Just two short years after their last playoff appearance, the Rockies found themselves in a deeper hole than they could overcome midway through last season, forcing the front office to change course. For all the success the team had at the end of the last decade, the status quo wasn't working anymore. The roster was in need of a makeover.

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Certain parts were untouchable, such as the nucleus of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Both are locked up long-term and both are good as it gets at their respective positions. But Ubaldo Jimenez, perhaps the only true ace the organization has ever known, suddenly became expendable and ultimately landed the Rockies two promising young pitchers in Drew Pomeranz and Alex White.

Though Pomeranz showed some potential down the stretch and has a pedigree that suggests he could be the organization's next true ace, the Rockies still didn't feel comfortable with their pitching depth entering spring training and made it their mission this offseason to acquire as many serviceable arms as possible -- most of which are probably too hittable for Coors Field.

Between Jeremy Guthrie, Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman, Jamie Moyer and Tyler Chatwood, the Rockies should have no shortage of innings. Whether or not they'll be good ones is a different story. Fortunately, any of those five (with the exception of Guthrie) who make the roster will likely become expendable as soon as Juan Nicasio (broken neck) and Jorge De La Rosa (Tommy John surgery) prove healthy and effective again.

As for the offense, the Rockies loaded up on veterans to complement Tulowitzki and Gonzalez, and while old men Todd Helton and Casey Blake may not hold up at the corners, Michael Cuddyer and Marco Scutaro are still productive enough to take advantage of the move to Coors Field. And whenever the Rockies decide they need an injection of youthful energy, they can turn the hot corner over to future star Nolan Arenado and the catcher spot over to slugger Wilin Rosario.

Breakout ... Dexter Fowler, OF

Judging by the final numbers, Fowler was the same player last season as the previous two seasons, when he was widely regarded as an underachiever. But let's not forget the path he took to those numbers. In June of last year, he was hitting so poorly that the Rockies actually demoted him to the minors. Instead of sulking, he adjusted, changing his stance -- which was never a thing of beauty from the left side -- to shorten his stroke. He returned a different player, hitting .297 with 36 extra-base hits, nine steals and a .901 OPS in his final 64 games. That's who the Rockies thought they were getting when Fowler was first breaking into the majors. Granted, the homers aren't there yet, but given his 6-foot-4 frame and extensive number of doubles and triples, they should come as he enters his prime. And even if they don't this year, Fowler still figures to exceed his draft position in Head-to-Head leagues. He's basically a Shane Victorino waiting to happen.

Sleeper ... Rafael Betancourt, RP

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After trading Huston Street to the Padres this offseason, the Rockies plan to make Betancourt their full-time closer. But wait, didn't the Indians try that with him in 2008, when he was coming off his best season? And wasn't it a cataclysmic failure? And didn't no-names like Masahide Kobayashi and, later, Jensen Lewis end up getting saves instead? Yes, yes and -- oh yes -- yes. But that was the old Betancourt. At age 36, he's no longer so easily rattled. Want proof? Hey, he was at his best while filling in for Street last year, posting a microscopic 0.32 ERA over his final 30 appearances, when he recorded all eight of his saves. He has always had great peripherals, from his strikeout rate to his WHIP, and his stuff is as good as ever despite his age. Betancourt is likely to slip in drafts given his limited closing experience, but if you draft him late as your second or third reliever, he might end up being your best.

Late-round flier ... Marco Scutaro, SS

Let's be honest here: Scutaro isn't going to hit 20 homers or steal 20 bases. He might not even be a 10-10 guy. He isn't going to redefine the shortstop position or carry anybody's Fantasy team. So why should anyone care about him on Draft Day? Because what he does offer, at least in Head-to-Head leagues, makes him surprisingly productive at the weakest position in Fantasy. He hits doubles. He walks. He puts the ball in play. As a full-timer in 2009, he ranked fifth among shortstops in Fantasy points, and one year later, he ranked sixth. Best of all, he's going to be batting second for a team that, given its home ballpark, routinely ranks among the highest scoring in the NL. With Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki hitting behind him, how can he not score a ton of runs? Again, you can do better at shortstop than Scutaro, but if you miss out on the big names early, don't forget about him as a fallback option.

2012 Colorado Rockies Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Dexter Fowler CF 1 Jeremy Guthrie RH
2 Marco Scutaro 2B 2 Jhoulys Chacin RH
3 Carlos Gonzalez LF 3 Juan Nicasio RH
4 Troy Tulowitzki SS 4 Guillermo Moscoso RH
5 Todd Helton 1B 5 Drew Pomeranz LH
6 Michael Cuddyer RF Alt Josh Outman LH
7 Ramon Hernandez C
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Casey Blake 3B CL Rafael Betancourt RH
Top bench options SU Rex Brothers LH
R Wilin Rosario C RP Matt Belisle RH
R Tyler Colvin OF RP Matt Reynolds LH
R Eric Young OF/2B RP Edgmer Escalona RH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2011 high Destination
1 Drew Pomeranz 23 SP Majors Majors
Even at reduced velocities with the extended workload, Pomeranz was more effective than not in a late-season call-up. He's a worthy late-rounder in mixed leagues, provided he wins a job.
2 Nolan Arenado 20 3B Class A Double-A
Despite his young age, Arenado is already a good enough contact and power hitter to play in the big leagues. Considering only Blake stands in his way, it'll likely happen midseason. A future star.
3 Wilin Rosario 23 C Majors Majors
Rosario's power hitting should play well at home, but his poor plate discipline could make him another Rod Barajas. He'll eventually supplant Hernandez, making him worth a flier in deeper leagues.
4 Chad Bettis 22 SP Class A Double-A
Bettis was overpowering in the heavy-hitting California League last year, causing him to shoot up the prospect rankings. He likely won't arrive in 2012, but he's a worthy long-term keeper.
5 Tim Wheeler 24 OF Double-A Triple-A
Wheeler emerged as a power hitter last year and is also an adequate base-stealer. His struggles against lefties might confine him to a platoon role, but he's not far from reaching the bigs.
Best of the rest: Tyler Matzek, SP; Trevor Story, SS; Tyler Anderson, SP; Kyle Parker, OF; Jordan Pacheco, 1B; Charlie Blackmon, OF; Christian Friedrich, SP; Edgmer Escalona, RP; DJ LeMahieu, 2B; Kent Matthes, OF; Joe Gardner, SP; Edwar Cabrera, SP; Zach Putnam, RP; Rob Scahill, SP; Hector Gomez, SS; and Ben Paulsen, 1B.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Tigers RF J.D. Martinez goes deep again on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:44 pm ET) Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez slugged a three-run home run on Thursday, but it wasn't enough to avoid the 8-4 loss to the Pirates. Martinez's eighth-inning blast, his 21st of the season, cut the Pirates' lead to 4-3. But Pittsburgh would put up a four-spot in the ninth inning, keeping the Tigers at bay.

Martinez now has eight home runs in his last nine games, and he is batting .359 with 16 RBI over that stretch. 


Pirates C Francisco Cervelli blasts solo home run on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:41 pm ET) Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli got the scoring started on Thursday, as he launched a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning to give his club the early 1-0 lead. Cervelli also singled and scored later in the game, as the Pirates defeated the Tigers 8-4.

The home run was Cervelli's fourth of the season, and he now has 10 hits in 40 at-bats over his last 10 games. 


Pirates' Mark Melancon needs one out to get 25th save Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:39 pm ET) Pirates closer Mark Melancon was called upon to get one out in the ninth inning on Thursday, and Melancon obliged accordingly to pick up his 25th save of the season. The Pirates entered the bottom of the ninth against the Tigers with an 8-3 lead. 

But, Vance Worley gave up a run on three hits while recording two outs. So, with the possible tying run in the on-deck circle, Melancon was summoned from the bullpen, and was able to get Victor Martinez to ground-out, securing the 8-4 Pirates win.

Melancon is now working on a 23-game scoreless streak, as his ERA now sits at 1.66 on the year.


Dodgers OF Carl Crawford to miss rehab game with flu
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:38 pm ET) Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford will not play on Thursday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga because he is suffering from flu like symptoms, per the team's media relations department.

Crawford left Wednesday's game for Rancho Cucamonga because he was hit by a pitch, but was able to leave the field under his own power.

Crawford is on the disabled list with a right oblique injury.


Tigers SP Kyle Ryan walks five batters in loss on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:33 pm ET) Making his fourth start of the season, Tigers left-hander Kyle Ryan lasted four-plus innings in an 8-4 loss to the Pirates on Thursday. Ryan allowed two runs on three hits, but he walked a season-high five batters on the afternoon, while recording four strikeouts. 

Ryan (1-2) gave up a solo home run to Francisco Cervelli in the fourth inning to kick off the scoring. He started the fifth inning by wallking the first two batters to face him. He was then lifted for a reliever, but one of the runs came around to score, charging Ryan with his second run of the game.

Ryan last pitched two-thirds on an inning in relief on June 24. He was supposed to start last Saturday, but the game was postponed due to rain, and he did not make another appearance until Thursday's start. 


Orioles sign Chris Perez to minor-league deal
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:31 pm ET) The Orioles signed relief pitcher Chris Perez to a Triple-A deal on Thursday, per masnsports.com.

Perez will have to serve a 50-game suspension for his second drug abuse offense before he can play a game in the minors. 

"That doesn't affect us right now, obviously for 50 games. There are games played after August," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

"We all make some changes in our lives and get better."

Perez was an All-Star with the Indians in 2011 and 2012 and he recorded 75 total saves over that span.


Pirates' Francisco Liriano blanks Tigers for seven innings Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:26 pm ET) Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano posted another gem, this time at the expense of the Tigers in the Pirates' 8-4 win on Thursday. Liriano held the Tigers scoreless over seven innings, allowing five hits and three walks while recording five strikeouts. 

Liriano (5-6) dropped his ERA under 3.00 with the terrific effort on Thursday. The veteran left-hander has allowed three runs or less in seven of his last eight starts.


Padres 1B Yonder Alonso gets a day off Thursday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:24 pm ET) Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso was held out of the starting lineup Thursday against the Cardinals for the first time in 10 games. It was just the third time he didn't start since coming off the disabled list June 2.

Since returning from the DL, Alonso is batting .289 with one home run, five doubles, 10 RBI, 11 runs, 11 walks and 14 strikeouts in 27 games.


Padres SP Brandon Morrow likely to throw bullpen session Saturday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:24 pm ET) After throwing 30 pitches in a bullpen session Wednesday, Padres pitcher Brandon Morrow will likely throw another bullpen session Friday, reports MLB.com.

Morrow has been sidelined since May 3 with a shoulder injury. It is not known when his rehab assignment will start.


Cubs C Miguel Montero belts two-run home run on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5:20 pm ET) Cubs catcher Miguel Montero slugged his 10th home run of the season in the 6-1 win over the Mets on Thursday. Montero's two-run shot came in the ninth inning with his team already up by three runs, so the home run came as little consequence to the outcome of the game.

The home run was Montero's first since June 13, breaking a 13-game drought. His season-high is 18, which came in 2011.


 
 
 
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