StrategyMarch 6, 2009

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30 Teams in 30 Days: Colorado Rockies

By Jason Doolittle

The Colorado Rockies had a dream season in 2007; or rather, a dream September and October, ultimately winning 21 of 22 to take them to the National League pennant. They succeeded with confident starting pitching, outstanding defense, and a great bullpen. In 2008, however, the Rockies reverted, partially due to injuries (Troy Tulowitzki) but also because that great starting pitching was not there. Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, and Jeff Francis did not perform up to expectations. Coming into 2009, the Rockies have to re-invent themselves without their former best player, Matt Holliday, who was traded to Oakland. The building blocks from the winning formula of 2007 are still there, but the question is: will there be enough offense?

For a closer look at the Colorado Rockies and the rest of the NL West, be sure to check out the The Can of Corn NL West Preview Podcast.

Offensive Starters

C Chris Iannetta.264.390.5055018650333
1B Todd Helton.264.391.388397290299
2B Clint Barmes.290.322.46847114413393
SS Troy Tulowitzki.263.332.401488461377
3B Garrett Atkins.286.328.4528621991611
LF Seth Smith.259.350.435134151108
CF Ryan Spilborghs.313.407.468386367233
RF Brad Hawpe.283.381.4986925852488

Unsettled: Second base, left field, and center field. Three positions in the lineup are going to be battled for in spring training. Clint Barmes seems to have the best chance to win the the second base job over Jeff Baker. Seth Smith seems to be the favorite in left field. Ian Stewart might find some time at 2B or LF in order to get his bat into the lineup. Dexter Fowler may eventually replace Ryan Spilborghs in center field.

Target: Chris Iannetta. Iannetta put up some great numbers last season while sharing time. He will be a very good value pickup in the middle rounds and has the potential to put up top five catcher numbers. He has the chance to be in the same tier with McCann and Mauer, assuming he takes over full-time catcher duties.

The Rotation

Aaron Cook (R)16-93.961.349648211.1 
Ubaldo Jimenez (R)12-123.991.43172103198.2 
Jason Marquis (R)11-94.531.459170167w/ChN
Jorge De La Rosa (L)10-84.921.4612862130 
Franklin Morales (L)1-26.391.7891725.1 

Unsettled: The fifth spot. This will be a spring training fight. Greg Smith has a chance to take this spot from Morales, but Morales will be given every opportunity to rejoin the starting rotation after an awful start to last season.

Target: Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez was an upside pick last year but started out so slow that his second half flew under the radar. From June 11 through the end of the year, his line was 11-6/3.21/1.30/113 K/129 IP. This is a young pitcher who, with better control, should improve on his 2008. The Rockies will need him to be their ace.

The 8th and 9th Innings

Manny Corpas (R)44.521.46502379.2 
Huston Street (R)183.731.21692770w/Oak

Chasing Saves: The Rockies plan on using Corpas as their closer to start the season. He was decent as a setup guy for Brian Fuentes last year, but we all know that Clint Hurdle will not hesitate to try someone else in the closer spot if Corpas struggles – he’s switched closers in each of the last two seasons. With that in mind, Huston Street may not be a bad pickup in the late rounds, and at the very least he’s someone you will want to keep an eye on if he is a free agent in your league.

Final Thoughts

The Rockies look to struggle this season in a rebuilding year, having lost their best player and being without a viable immediate replacement. Their rotation after the top two starters also looks suspect. Things could go their way if they can come up with some offense and their starting pitching outperforms projections, as the National League West is a very mediocre division. The viable fantasy players are Ianetta, Hawpe, Tulowitzki, Atkins, Jimenez, Corpas, and perhaps Cook. I would not trust anyone else in a 12-team league, but there are some interesting options for deeper leagues that could perform well, namely Spilborghs, Barmes, and Stewart.

Yesterday we previewed the Arizona Diamondbacks. Check back tomorrow for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the next installment of “30 Teams in 30 Days!”

Jason Doolittle is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Jason in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Nerfherders.
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