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.