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DOs And DONTs: Colorado Rockies

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DOs And DONTs: Colorado Rockies

Posted on 10 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

This edition of DOs And DON’Ts will focus on the 40-man roster of the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies have been very active this offseason, tinkering with a roster that, as a whole, underachieved in 2011 despite having two of the game’s best offensive players as well as a bunch of very useful fantasy baseball options.

  • DO what you can to draft SS Troy Tulowitzki as the best shortstop option in the game. He’s currently being drafted with an ADP (average draft position) of 4.61 in mock drafts on MockDraftCentral.com and could easily give you a robust 5×5 return of .300/100/30/100/10 in 2012. Don’t forget, he stole 20 bases in 2009 but has steadily declined (11 in 2010; 9 in 2011) since then so keep the stolen base expectations low and be happily surprised if he runs more this season.
  • DON’T expect 1B Todd Helton to give you the production you need out of your primary first base option. He’ll give you a decent average and near 15 home runs as a corner infielder (CI), infielder (IF) or a utility player (UTL) in very deep, mixed league formats or NL-only ones with expanded rosters. With two season left on his current contract, look for the Rockies to start auditioning some younger guys (Tyler Colvin) as the season wears on with an eye on the future.
  • DO pair up OF Carlos Gonzalez with Tulo if you love the Rockies and love winning at fantasy baseball. CarGo gives you the exact same 5×5 line as Tulo (.300/100/30/100) except with the ability to steal 20+ bases. Injuries robbed him of some of his numbers in 2011 but you need to be drafting him under the assumption he’s healthy and ready to be an elite fantasy option in 2012.
  • DON’T invest a pick in any of the players in the mix at third base for the Rockies (Casey Blake; Chris Nelson, etc.) not named Nolan Arenado unless you’re in a dynasty league or another type with a minor league system built in. He may not make it to the majors in 2012 but is currently the future at this position for the Rox.
  • DO watch to see what positions 1B/OF Michael Cuddyer qualifies for in your league come draft day. He played 17 games at second base in 2011 and has the most fantasy impact at that position. RotoChamp.com projects a .274/71/18/75/9 line for him in 2012 and that would rank as the 12th-best option at second base.
  • DON’T rush to grab SP Jhoulys Chacin too early, no matter how much you love him as a sleeper. He’ll probably go undrafted in your standard 8-10 team shallow leagues and is currently notching an ADP of 192.21 on MockDraftCentral.com. His sub-4.00 ERA, 13+ Win potential and 175+ Strikeouts will definitely help you in deeper leagues but be aware of his career 4.2 BB/9, 1.89 K/BB and 1.31 WHIP. General Manager Dan O’Dowd has already called out Chacin for being overweight and not working hard this offseason. Stay tuned.
  • DO draft OF Dexter Fowler for his speed. After stealing 27 bases in 2009, he’s been sort of a let down on the base paths with only 13 steals in 2010 and 12 in 2011. Expect him to be a fixture in the leadoff spot for the Rockies in 2012 with the green light to run.
  • DON’T forget new CL Rafael Betancourt when drafting your closers. His high Strikeout numbers (10.5 K/9) coupled with rarely walking batters (1.2 BB/9) led to a superior K/BB ratio of 9.13 and a minuscule WHIP of 0.87 in 2011. It will be interesting to see how he performs during his first true shot as a team’s closer.
  • DO look for C Ramon Hernandez to have a successful first season in Colorado. Look for him to get 300-400 at bats and provide a dozen or so home runs with a batting average you can live with. He’s a “must own” in all two-catcher format leagues and and in NL-only leagues, where he’s possibly the 5th or 6th-best option (Brian McCann; Buster Posey; Miguel Montero; Yadier Molina; Jonathan Lucroy) behind the plate.
  • DON’T draft newly-acquired SP Jeremy Guthrie. He’s not much of a strikeout pitcher (5.5 K/9 career rate) and will probably be no better than he was with the Orioles.
  • DO keep an eye on 2B/SS Marco Scutaro this Spring. He could wind up being the Rockies everyday second baseman and hitting in the number two slot in the order. Again, he’s really only on your radar in NL-only or very deep, mixed leagues with additional roster spots for middle infielders.

The Rockies should continue to be competitive in the relatively weak NL West especially if an additional wild card team is added into the playoff mix for 2012. Keep an eye on some of the Spring battles surely to take place (third base; second base if Scutaro falters; starting pitching) for players who could climb into the “sleeper” category for those of you who draft later rather than sooner than most.

Be sure to leave a comment if I overlooked a player you have your eye on or one that I’ve over/under-valued. I’m very active on Twitter at @DJAubain talking mostly baseball but adding a certain level of snarkiness to my tweets most seem to appreciate and enjoy.

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Fantasy Sleeper Picks For Each Position

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Fantasy Sleeper Picks For Each Position

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Jared Thatcher

Fantasy baseball drafts are upon us and most of the time you don’t get everyone you want. The tough part is finding guys who will perform once the few elite players at each position are taken. In this article I will give you one player for each position that will probably NOT get drafted in the top 10 for his individual position, but that WILL probably end the year as one of the top 10 most productive for his position.

C – Jesus Montero – Mariners

I realize he is more of a prospect right now and might end up as a DH, but he should break camp with the Mariners and get at bats right away. It will take a little time for him to qualify at the catcher position but once he does, he might be the most productive in the game of fantasy baseball.

1B – Eric Hosmer – Royals

Hosmer had a great year in 2011 hitting .293 with 19 HR and 73 RBIs over 128 games. He probably won’t be one of the top 10 drafted first basemen so grab him if you miss out on the Vottos, Fielders, and Gonzalez. A little known fact about Hosmer is that possesses some speed also. He had 11 stolen bases and 3 triples last year which will be an added bonus to his fantasy points.

2B – Aaron Hill – Diamondbacks

Hill had an abysmal 2011 inTorontobut showed flashes of his ability when he arrived inArizona. Grab Hill after the Kinslers, Canos, and Pedroias because this year he should return to his 20+ HR and 70+ RBIs. He will never bring you a high batting average but last year he swiped 21 bags and that should help make up for it in fantasy points.

SS – J.J. Hardy – Orioles

This is probably the riskiest pick you can find. I believe in Hardy and if he can stay healthy he will bring power to a light hitting position. In 2011 he quietly hit 30 HR on a terrible Orioles offense which probably wont be any better this year but don’t forget, your drafting him because you missed out on Tulo, Andrus, and Reyes.

3B – Ryan Roberts – Diamondbacks

Someone may take Roberts in the first 10 third basemen but the chances are slim. He ranked in the top five third basemen last year in some fantasy leagues and if he comes to spring training this year with the same attitude, owners might get an even better product. Last year he struggled with the high fastball and this year he vowed to lay off it, which should improve his average and walk rate. Tatman steals bases and may be eligible at other positions so draft him after Bautista, Longoria, and Wright type players are gone.

LF – Nolan Reimold – Orioles

He only played 87 games last year but he showed he could really hold it down in LF. He is only 28 years old and hitting his prime so watch out for a breakout year in 2012. Picking up Reimold is risky but it could payoff big if you are in a squeeze.

CF – Colby Rasmus – Blue Jays

2011 was a lost year for Rasmus and he knows that. His batting average was terrible and he didn’t have the power he showed the past two seasons. Let’s remember, he is only 25 in 2012 and the change of scenery has probably done him well. Hopefully Rasmus catches the home run fever inTorontobut also look for him to exploit his speed this year. Should be a breakout year for the kid.

RF – Matt Joyce – Rays

Given the chance to play full-time in 2011 he really showed what he could do. He hit 19 HR and 75 RBIs while stealing 13 bases last season and this year he should improve on those numbers. The Rays offense is powerful and he should provide pop and batting average this year for his fantasy owners.

SP – Trevor Cahill – Diamondbacks

At only 24 years old, Cahill should become the Ace of the Dbacks in 2012. His ERA and win totals weren’t great inOaklandlast year but he was backed by a pretty terrible defense and the AL West is not as forgiving as you might think. A move to the light-hitting NL West were he will pitch to a pitcher in the 9-hole instead of a DH somewhere in the lineup should help his numbers. The Diamondbacks can also score runs so he should have more than 10 wins this year. Pick him up in the middle rounds and be prepared to be amazed as he turns into a star.

RP – Joey Devine – Athletics

Relief pitchers are hard to figure out because closers can be changed very regularly. Devine is in the mix to close for the Athletics this year and I think he is the most qualified of the mix. Add him to your roster very late in the draft or off the waiver wire and wait to see how the closer situation inOaklandshakes out. Downside you have a very good reliever, upside you have a 30+ saves candidate.

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