It’s always good to have a couple of 2014 Colorado Rockies on your squad (batters of course). Three of the top 25 Fantasy performers once again came from the team that calls Coors Field home in 2013, despite Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki missing a combined 110 games.
Newcomers like Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon showed promise, and as for the pitching? Well, more of the same unfortunately.
The Rox added Brett Anderson and Jordan Lyles to bolster the rotation, as they look to get the most out of talented yet underperforming Drew Stubbs in 2014.
Justin Morneau will try to fill the void of retired Todd Helton.
Projected 2014 Colorado Rockies “Go-To” Lineup
- Josh Rutledge
- Nolan Arenado
- Carlos Gonzalez
- Troy Tulowitzki
- Justin Morneau
- Michael Cuddyer
- Wilin Rosario
- Drew Stubbs
- Jhoulys Chacin
- Brett Anderson
- Jorge De La Rosa
- Tyler Chatwood
- Jordan Lyles
- Closer: Rex Brothers
Fantasy Studs: Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki
Draft at your own risk. Both Carlos Gonzalez and Tulowizki will be two of the first 15 selections in your mixed league drafts, and they come with a ton of risk.
CarGo hasn’t played more than 135 games in any of the past three seasons, and Tulowitzki has played 150 games or more just once over his past six seasons.
That being said, even with the missed time, you are getting elite production at both positions. CarGo is a first-round selection with elite raw power and 30-steal potential, but it’s Tulo that normally attracts even the most conservative Fantasy owners. Tulo’s power and batting average are basically unmatched at the position, and even with missing 30-plus games, he is arguably the top shortstop in Fantasy Baseball.
Michael Cuddyer led the National League in batting average at .331, but at age 34, regression should set in for him. Stealing 10 bases again seems improbable, as well. The Coors Field factor gives Cuddyer a boost at the outfield position, but don’t overpay.
Rosario is a top 10 fantasy catcher in mixed leagues, but it’s possible we’ve seen his best over the past two seasons.
Breakout Candidate: Nolan Arenado
Third Base, especially in the National League, is a bit deeper than in years’ past. Nolan Arenado’s glove was as good as anyone in baseball last year, but his Fantasy potential is also there for a huge breakout. Very few rookies can maintain their power, as the grind of a long season catches up with them. Hence, he only belted one HR in the month of September.
It is also encouraging that Arenado’s home/road splits were dead even in terms of homers. He hit five at Coors Field and five on the road. That number should increase in 2014 as his flyball rate jumps this season.
Sleeper Candidate: Drew Stubbs
Stubbs seems tailor made for Coors Field. Stubbs will strike out a ton, walk a little, and frustrate Fantasy owners with his talent that goes unfulfilled. This will be Stubbs’ third team in three years and it’s pretty obvious Colorado feels they can get him back to his early Reds days where is OPS lived above .750.
Stubbs in Coors Field could have 20/20 potential, but simply must perform well out of the gate, as Charlie Blackmon has proven he can mash lefties. Blackmon also concluded the 2013 season on an absolute tear.
Stubbs may not see many pitches to hit batting eighth, but when he does make contact good things usually happen. Right now he’s more of an NL Only option, but mixed leaguers should monitor him.
Bust Candidate: Justin Morneau
Morneau hit just 17 HRs last season, and was powerless in Pittsburgh in the final 25 games. Getting sub-20 home runs from the first base position in any mixed league is below average, and it just appears that Morneau is just that.
Top Rookie: Jonathan Gray
Starting Pitcher Jonathan Gray had a ridiculous 13.5 K per 9 in High A Modesto to go along with a .75 ERA in 5 starts. Gray may be the first “Ace” the Rox have had since Ubaldo Jimenez (was he an Ace ?) and has the potential to be one of the NL’s best. Then, 22-year-old starter Eddie Butler has high expectations as well may but Gray’s ceiling appears to be higher as Colorado appears to finally have some young arms to covet in Fantasy.
What You Should Know
In reality, the 2014 Colorado Rockies are going to have a tough time competing against the likes of the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Giants, so you have to wonder if the move is to build for 2015.
Gray and Butler will be cornerstones of the staff in reality and perhaps Fantasy, but will Tulowitzki be part of that mix? His contract is tough to move, but it wouldn’t be surprising to hear trade talks surrounding him again come June.
In general, you have to value Rockies hitters during an auction or snake draft when it’s a close call. Coors field just provides so much Fantasy value over 81 games that we could see 20-plus Home Runs from five Rockies hitters in 2014 (Tulo, Cargo, Cuddyer, Rosario and Arenado.)
At this point it’s hard to recommend any Rockies starting pitcher outside of a late flier on Brett Anderson. Rex Brothers could be a front line closer but it will be interesting to see how effective he can be all season against Right Handed Hitters. Brothers’ owners in NL Only leagues would be wise to secure the ageless LaTroy Hawkins.
You can hear me host on SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball during the week from 2-5pm EST on Sirius 210 and XM 87. I also host every Sunday from 1-4pm EST. Follow me on twitter @craigmish and at www.craigmish.com.
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