The Colorado Rockies were one of the biggest jokes in baseball last season.
At one point, they actually went with a shortened rotation.
They would have a pitcher go for four to five innings, then turn it over to the pullpen.
Needless to say, it wasn’t very successful.
It was so bad, it cost Jim Tracy his job.
Enter, the Walt Weiss era.
The 1988 AL Rookie of the Year takes over after serving in the Rockies’ front office for many seasons.
As a former shortstop, his number one priority will be properly managing the durability and production of Troy Tulowitzki.
Tulo has been one of the most injury-plagued players in fantasy since his debut. The problem for owners is the fact that he’s too good to not roll the dice on.
When healthy, he’s a .300 hitter that can get you close to 30 home runs, 80 runs, and 95 rbi’s.
Don’t get me wrong, Colorado has some talent.
They have plenty of hitters than can make this club consistently competitive, but it’s their pitching staff that is holding them back in the NL West.
The first four in the lineup a solid: Dexter Fowler, Josh Rutledge, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki. The problem becomes after that. Todd Helton is breaking down, Michael Cuddyer’s magic has run out, Wilin Rosario’s defense could keep him out of the lineup, and Chris Nelson is inconsistent.
Colorado took a major hit when they had to move Marco Scutaro to San Francisco around the trade deadline.
Although he was up there in age, his presence in the lineup made everyone else better.
His defense is what the pitching staff will miss the most, but they have problems of their own.
When the ace of your staff has only mustered an ERA under 4, once in his career, that’s a problem.
Jorge De La Rosa appeared in three games last season, after recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He’s in the ace role because of his experience and lack of talent down the chain.
Anyone beyond the rest of the staff is sporting at least a 4+ ERA.
So the basic rule of thumb is don’t consider any Rockies pitchers.
Believe it or not, there are some salvageable pieces in Colorado on draft day…
ROCKIES PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Dexter Fowler CF He’s coming off his best season yet. He jumped up from the .260s, to hitting .300. Fowler did pack on more muscle and train with Tulo last offseason. He hit double digit HRs for the first time as well. Solid 3rd or 4th OF option.
2. Josh Rutledge 2B Subbing in for Tulo, he was hitting .353 in his first 42 games…then fell apart. He finished with a decent .274 AVG for a rookie. He’s a late round selection that could break out.
3. Carlos Gonzalez LF What do you need to know other than he’s a 5-tool player that unfortunately is injury prone. Like Tulo, he’s worth the risk of drafting in the early rounds.
4. Troy Tulowitzki SS He could be an MVP candidate if he could just stay healthy. You just have to ask yourself if you’re willing to spend one of your first two picks to get him.
5. Michael Cuddyer RF He had a drop-off season from his productive 2011 finale in MIN, 20 less runs, rbi’s, and points off the batting average. He could bounce back and be a buy low option this year.
6. Todd Helton 1B He hasn’t hit 20 home runs in 7 years, he went from a .300 hitter in ’11 to .232 in ’12, no need to consider him
7. Wilin Rosario C If you blinked, you probably didn’t realize this guy hit 28 home runs last year. He even had a .27o batting average. When all the big name catchers are off the board, Rosario can be a sneaky pick
8. Chris Nelson 3B He’s a .300 hitter that doesn’t come with HR or SB ability. You shouldn’t need his services.
1. Jorge De La Rosa He’s coming off of a Tommy John recovery season, he’s only had one season with an ERA under 4, don’t bother
2. Jhoulys Chacin He has the talent, but not the discipline. You can blame it all on the stadium, but Chacin has yet to develop into a reliable option.
3. Drew Pomeranz He hasn’t given you a reason to trust him, but he has the most potential out of anyone on this staff.
4. Juan Nicasio Another Rocky that is injury prone, probably don’t need to consider him on draft day after sporting an ERA of 5.28
5. Jeff Francis Do you honestly want to roll with a pitcher that produces a 5+ ERA? That’s what I thought.
RP-Rafael Betancourt He had 31 saves and sported a 2.81 ERA in his first full season as a closer. We’ve learned that the rotation is going to give up a ton of runs, so if the lineup can produce enough to get him save opportunities, then he’s worth a late round look on draft day.
Josh Rutledge is one of the rising stars in the league, which is exactly what Colorado needs. In his first 42 games, Rutledge produced a .353 AVG with 7 homers and 27 RBIs. He would finish off the season with a .270 AVG. Quite a drop-off to lose 80 points in an average, but not too bad for a rookie. Now Rutledge can come into the season with some major league experience and a full offseason of preparing to play second base. He’s not going to hit .353, but he could be a .290-.300 hitter in 2013. It’s so hard to find a good short stop in fantasy baseball, so invest in the next big thing over just trying to fill the position.
Do you know who Wilin Rosario is? Oh, no one important, just a catcher that hit 28 homers in just his second season. He also just happened to lead all catchers in home runs. Rosario was a .270 hitter with around 70 runs and RBI’s. The only thing that you have to worry about with him is his playing time. Rosario’s defensive woes are troubling for the new management, but that should all be worked out with reps during spring camp. He’s not the biggest name at the position, but he’s one of the most productive ones. When you don’t get one of the top catchers, consider Rosario at a discount price.