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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
Big inning proves costly for Kevin Correia
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(6:29 pm ET) Twins starting pitcher Kevin Correia got an early lead Saturday, but a big Royals' inning sunk him in a 5-4 loss.

Correia had a 2-0 lead heading into the fourth inning, but that's where he came unraveled. The Royals only got to Correia during that fourth inning, but he gave up five runs in the frame, four of which were earned, and that was enough to cost him the game.

Correia ultimately pitched six innings despite his fourth-inning meltdown. He was charged with four earned runs on nine hits and a pair of walks, while striking out two. He took the loss to drop his record to 0-2 on the season.

Correia's ERA rose slightly to 5.47 in the start, a number he will try to lower in his next outing, scheduled for Friday against the Tigers. 


Lucas Duda still under pressue to produce after Ike Davis trade
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:57 pm ET) Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is finally done looking over his shoulder with Ike Davis sent to Pittsburgh, but he's well aware he has to be productive in order to keep his starting job, ESPNNewYork.com reports.

"I still have to produce," Duda said. "If I don't produce, I won't play. If I don’t get the job done, someone else will."

Duda will likely continue to sit against most southpaws as the team looks to get at-bats for Josh Satin. Duda has hit .256/.333/.465 with three home runs and eight RBI in 43 at-bats.


Mike Minor likely to make season debut Friday or Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:52 pm ET) Braves pitcher Mike Minor is likely to make his season debut on Friday or Saturday, depending on how many days of rest the team decides to give Ervin Santana, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Minor is scheduled to make his final rehab start with Triple-A Gwinnett this Saturday as he recovers from a sore shoulder. Santana is on the mound for the Braves Saturday. The team doesn't play Thursday, so one of the two pitchers is going to have a full week off between starts.


Buster Posey batting third Saturday vs. Padres
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) Giants catcher Buster Posey is back in the lineup and batting third for Saturday's game against the Padres.

Posey took a foul tip off his shoulder Thursday and was limited to pinch-hitting Friday, but he'll resume his regular role Saturday after giving the injury a little bit of rest. He has hit .255/.339/.436 with three home runs and eight RBI in 55 at-bats.


Rajai Davis set to see some time coming up
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:46 pm ET) Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis was in the leadoff spot Saturday against the Angels, and that could become a trend over the next week or so. Manager Brad Ausmus told MLB.com he wants Davis at the top of the lineup against left-handed pitchers, and the Tigers are set to face five lefties in a span of six days.

"I've kind of had that in mind against lefties, to have Rajai and Ian [Kinsler] at the top," Ausmus said.

Davis made Ausmus look good Saturday, as he reached base three times in a 5-2 win. He went 1 for 3 with a pair of walks, though he did not score in the game, and was caught stealing once.

Davis' career line against lefties (.295/.354/.426) is much better than what he has produced against right-handed pitching (.257/.299/.354.)


Chase Headley in lineup Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:43 pm ET) Padres third baseman Chase Headley is back in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Giants.

Headley will be making his first start since Tuesday after dealing with a bicep injury this week. He has hit .176/.222/.275 with one home run and four RBI in 51 at-bats.


Cole Hamels scheduled to return Wednesday vs. Dodgers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels is scheduled to make his season debut Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia reports.

Hamels was shut down early in camp due to shoulder inflammation, but he's ready to make his long-anticipated return to the Phillies rotation after throwing seven innings in his final rehab start Thursday. He'll be looking to improve from last season's numbers after going 8-14 with a 3.60 ERA and 202:50 K:BB ratio in 220 innings.


Dane De La Rosa playing catch, still no timetable
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:30 pm ET) Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa has been able to play catch in recent days while rehabbing from a shoulder injury, but there remains no timetable for his return to action according to MLB.com. De La Rosa is eligible to come off the disabled list April 28. 

Colin Moran likely to begin game action next week
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:30 pm ET) Marlins infield prospect Colin Moran will likely begin playing games in extended spring training next week, the Miami Herald reports.

Moran has been sidelined by a minor knee injury thus far. He's one of the top prospects in the organization after being selected sixth overall last year.


Rafael Furcal to begin Double-A rehab assignment Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) Marlins infielder Rafael Furcal is slated to move his rehab from high Class A Jupiter to Double-A Jacksonville Monday, the Miami Herald reports.

Furcal began his rehab assignment with Jupiter Monday and will move up a level a week later. He's progressing from a hamstring injury as he works towards playing his first major-league game since 2012.


 
 
 
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