Team preview: Colorado Rockies
1. CF: Dexter Fowler
2. LF: Seth Smith
3. RF: Carlos Gonzalez
4. SS: Troy Tulowitzki
5. 1B: Todd Helton
6. 2B: Jose Lopez
7. 3B: Ian Stewart
8. C: Chris Iannetta
1. SP: Ubaldo Jimenez
2. SP: Jorge De La Rosa
3. SP: Jhoulys Chacin
4. SP: Jason Hammel
5. SP: Esmil Rogers
CL: Huston Street
• After a short stay in the minors, Fowler batted .280 with 55 runs scored over the second half of the season. He should hit for a solid average, score runs and steal bases. His 20 doubles and 14 triples suggest that more power might be coming, not a ton, but maybe double-digit homers. Fowler is 49th in my outfielder rankings, and I’m optimistic about a breakout.
• CarGo and Tulo are 3-4 in my overall rankings behind only Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez. Gonzalez could stand to walk more, and he probably won’t hit .384 on balls in play again. But, otherwise, these two guys are fantasy gold.
• Is this the year Stewart breaks through? He’s still only age 26, and when a guy plays at Coors Field, anything is possible. However, his high-strikeout rate suggests that his batting average won’t improve much. Stewart is 16th in my fantasy third-base rankings, making him a low-end corner option in standard leagues.
• Jimenez wasn’t really as good as his 15-1 record and microscopic ERA showed in June. He wasn’t as bad as his 4-7, 3.80 line after the All-Star break. Where he ended up – 19-8, 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 214 strikeouts – sounds close to the mark. Though a BABIP increase (last year’s was a lucky .271) should increase the ERA/WHIP numbers. Jimenez is ranked 14th on my starter list. But, if he’s in your top 10, you won’t get much of an argument.
• Chacin is very interesting after posting a 3.28 ERA and whiffing more than a batter per inning at age 22. His strikeout/ground ball arsenal makes him a mini-Ubaldo with the chance to surprise people and become rosterable in standard leagues. One obvious word of caution: You draft Rockies’ hitters with their home park in mind, so you should be wary of their pitchers for the same reason.
• Odd man out: If Lopez wins the second-base job, he’ll probably bat sixth or seventh. If Jonathan Herrera wins it, he’ll bat second. Eric Young, Jr. could be ticketed for the minors unless his longshot candidacy makes a late push. Versatile Ty Wigginton doesn’t have a regular position, but could spend more time at third base than anywhere else if Stewart continues to struggle against lefties. He can be expected to get 400 at-bats as a jack-of-all-trades. Wiggy always seems to end up with 20 homers, and he’s in the right home ballpark to do it again.
• Top prospects: Power-hitting catcher Wilin Rosario could be ready to push Iannetta by July or August.
• Backup closer: Former Astros reliever Matt Lindstrom throws hard and has experience as a closer. So it seems likely that he’ll serve as Plan B behind Street.