Fantasy Articles

Coors Field is always a good place to look for offense. But do the Rockies still have top talent with Matt Holiday now in Oakland? Jonathan Leshanki tells you whom to draft and whom to avoid.

The Top Tier

The Rockies have no elite talent.

The Second Tier

Troy Tulowski was great two years ago, but had an injury plagued 2008 season.
Troy Tulowitzki (SS):  Coming off a dreadful and injury plagued season, Tulo may well have to prove to most fantasy owners that he belongs in the second tier, but the truth is that he’s a top 10 shortstop who’ll be available at a discount based on last year’s numbers. While I wouldn’t expect him to repeat the numbers of his rookie campaign, a .290-20-85 season seems more than likely.

Garrett Atkins (1B/3B):  Although he’s likely to be traded at some point this season, Atkins is still one of the top 10 third basemen in the game for fantasy purposes.  His departure however is not a lock especially if the Rox find themselves in the thick of things or Todd Helton isn’t able to be a major contributor.  That would be very good for fantasy owners considering how well he hits at Coors Field (.342 with a .904 OPS).   But even if he is traded he’ll be a solid contributor.   His average season over the last three years has been .315-23-95 but last year was the worst of the past three at .286-21-99, but at 29 it’s unlikely that he’ll face a severe decline.

Brad Hawpe (OF): He’s no elite player but a very solid middle round outfielder.  Hawpe won’t bowl you over with his numbers but he’ll contribute in four categories falling short only in steals – where he’s had a grand total of seven over the last three seasons.

The Third Tier

Huston Street/Manny Corpas (CL):  One of these guys is going to close for the Rockies but the question is, Which one?   Unless it evolves into a closer by committee situation, one of these guys is in line for 30+ saves.  The other may still be worth a dollar or two as insurance, but until we get deeper into Spring Training, deciding who the closer will be, is a crapshoot.

Question Marks, Sleepers and Dumpster Diving

Todd Helton (1B):  Picking Helton these days is getting a little dicey, especially with him coming off of major back surgery.  When healthy he’s capable of making up for the average of an Adam Dunn type hitter while contributing 15 or so home runs and driving in 90+ runs (and scoring about as many runs), but his health is a big question coming into 2009.  Watch him carefully this spring, both as to how much playing time he gets and how he swings the bat.

Chris Iannetta (C):  Iannetta hit 18 home runs last season in just 333 at bats and he’ll go into the season as the Rockies number one catcher.  However, he has no real track record and his average could be a concern (.249 in 607 AB).  He’s a great late round pick.

Jorge De La Rosa (SP):  The wildly inconsistent De La Rosa seemed to finally put it all together in the second half last year, but can he sustain that?  He’s a sleeper at best, unless your league is abnormally deep.

Aaron Cook (SP):  If you are looking for the most consistent pitcher in Colorado, this is the guy.  He managed 16 wins last year and posted a sub-4.00 ERA while posting the best WHIP of his career (1.34).  He’s improved over the last few seasons, but asking him to match that win total could be a bit of a stretch.

Ubaldo Jimenez (SP):  Most people will overlook him since he plays in Colorado but this 25-year-old still has tremendous upside, not to mention the best stuff of any pitcher the Rockies have.  For him to be of real value, he’ll need to improve his control and reduce his WHIP, but he’s more than capable of winning 11-14 games and striking out 180 hitters.

Greg Smith (SP):  He had a great rookie season in Oakland, but pitching in Colorado is a totally different matter.  He’ll love his starts at pitcher friendly Dodgers Stadium, PETCO Park and whatever the Giants are calling their stadium this year, but pitching in Colorado won’t help him any.  He’ll probably be of more use as free agent, spot starter, for your team.

Seth Smith (OF):  If he can win the starting job, Smith could be a really nice sleeper.  He’s capable of hitting for average with decent pop.  Over the past two seasons at Class AAA Colorado Springs he’s gone .319-27-135 in 699 AB.

Ian Stewart (3B):  He has power potential but his Adam Dunn-esque free swinging, high strikeout rates and lack of speed will probably limit his value.  If Helton is healthy, Stewart will be guy sitting on the bench unless he shows he can play left field in the spring.  If he gets the at bats he could be a good source of cheap power late in the draft.

Ryan Spilborghs (OF):  Spilborghs isn’t going to wow anyone, but  if he keeps the role as the Rockies everyday leadoff hitter he’ll score plenty of runs,  steal a handful of bases and maybe even contribute 15-20 home runs.  He’ll definitely hit for average, so right now it’s all about how much playing time he gets.