At one time it really looked like the Rockies had figured out how to pitch at Coors Field, but now that seems like a long time ago and clearly it didn’t work. Once again the Rox should be able to score plenty of runs, but they’ll probably have a lot more scored against them. Outside of closer Rafael Betencourt and maybe SP Jhoulys Chacin (if you feel like gambling), you probably should just stay away from Colorado hurlers. That said the offense offers plenty of fantasy players worthy of your notice.
Here are 10 to watch in 2013. Troy Tulowitzki (SS): He’s 28 and has just two 500-plus AB seasons under his belt in his 7 year career. Last year was a disaster as he barely managed 200 ABs. Even if he can stay healthy his double digit steal days may well be gone (due to past injuries), and in the small sample size of 2013, the power numbers look a bit on the light side as well. Still he’s in his prime years and a bounceback is more than possible. 450 ABs could raise him back to elite status, but the risk you might not even get 300 ABs is too real to totally discount.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF): Still an elite five-category contributor, but one with concerns that manifested in the second half of last season when he posted a .261-5-27. Injuries were certainly in play at that time but questions linger about if they were the cause or if the skill set was eroding (or maybe the mindset of playing for a punching bag are getting to him). Still he’s just entering his prime and is coming off his third 20-20 season. Expect more of the same, but take a look at some safer options if the price is too high.
Tyler Colvin (1B/OF): I’m a huge Todd Helton fan, but Helton, who at this point is no longer much of a fantasy contributor, is all that stands between Colvin and significant fantasy relevance. Despite last year’s numbers xBA says not to believe he’s better than a .265 hitter and probably worse in fact. But he easily has the potential to go 20-10, and as he’s coming into his prime with upside still in the tank it could be better than that -- provided he finds the ABs.
Josh Rutledge (2B/SS): Rutledge will swing to the other side of the infield to patrol second base on a regular basis for the Rox in the 2013 season. While he certainly has some flaws (walk rate, strikeout rate) he’s got the ability to contribute across the board, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the average and power took a step back from last season.
Wilin Rosario (C): His dreadful defense could cost him playing time and maybe even land him on the bench but it’s hard to ignore the eye popping power that Rosario displayed in just 396 AB last season (28 HR). Don’t expect another .270 season, but as long as Rosario doesn’t find himself riding the pine due to defensive shortcoming he’ll contribute big time.
Michael Cuddyer (1B/OF): The loss of middle infield eligibility certainly brings Cuddyer’s fantasy stock down a fair bit as he’d be a top 5 second baseman, but is at best a middling choice at first or in the outfield. However the thin air of Colorado is definitely in his favor this coming year as many fantasy owners will look at the home run total (16) and miss the fact that he only managed 358 ABs due to injury. Definite value here in the mid rounds.
Dexter Fowler (OF): It seems we’ve been waiting on the Dexter Fowler breakout for almost half a decade now and it still hasn’t come. We’ve seen some growth, but it’s time to doubt that a real breakout is coming. Plenty of upside, but only worth it at a low to moderate price. If 20-20 is coming, now is the time, but don’t pay for what he hasn’t shown.
Chris Nelson (2B/3B): Nelson is a gamble no matter how you cut it. His real value comes from having 2B eligibility, where his weak numbers won’t seem quite as anemic. He hits for good average in the rarified air of Colorado but his road splits suggest he’s just a creature of Coors. Figure his true baseline sits near .270 with maybe 7-9 home runs and hope for the best. Obviously if you can afford to start him only at Coors, his value is a bit higher.
Rafael Betencourt (CL): A solid enough closer, but one who might not be a Rockie or a closer by the trading deadline. Further complicating the mix is his age (38) and the inevitable decline that comes with it. Figure he’s good for 15-20 saves when you price his value and hope there are a lot more.
Eric Young Jr. (OF): Young’s value is all in his legs. If he could consistently get on base he’d be a fantasy juggernaut when it came to steals. As it is, playing time may well be hard to come by. Still he could manage 300 ABs and could swing 25 steals, and the sky might well be the limit with regular playing time. Problem is that he doesn’t throw all that well and is best suited to left field defensively, and he’s not going to displace Car-Go from that spot.