The Rockies can be a fantasy goldmine for offense, and here are the players owners should take a look at for 2014.
2014 Colorado Rockies Lineup Analysis and Projections
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
In the fantasy realm, Tulo is a stud and a cornerstone of a team….when healthy. Last year he was on the field for 126 games and hit .312 with 25 HR 82 RBI and 72 runs. Of all fantasy shortstops, Tulo was the leader in RBI and tied with J.J. Hardy for the most HR. If he can actually stay on the diamond he can compete for the NL MVP. He has huge upside, but Tulowitzki comes with a side dish of risk. For a late first round/early second round pick, Tulo can lead you to destined glory or wreck your whole strategy. If you decide to pick the Rockies star you might want to consider picking up a late-round shortstop just in case he goes down. Tulo has been rumored in trades at the winter meetings, but the Rockies shut all those down. He seems to be fired up by the moves the team has made and hungry to get back to the postseason.
2014 projection: 135 games, 80 runs, 150 hits, 35 doubles, 29 HR, 90 RBI, 3 SB, .302 AVG
Carlos Gonzalez, OF
Cargo and Tulo are the Bash Brothers (gotta respect the Mighty Ducks reference). Their statistics are almost identical- they could both win MVP- and so is the injury risk. The big difference is Cargo is gonna beat Tulo in a footrace every time. He has wheels and 20-plus SB potential. Gonzalez was only on the field for 110 games last year due to nagging injuries. He did manage to club 26 bombs and drive in 70 runs while hitting .302. He has proven that he is one of the top fantasy OF when he gets a full season (145 games 34 HR, 117 RBI, and .336 AVG in 2010). The injury bug has already hit in 2014, as he had to have an emergency appendectomy and is expected to need 4 to 8 weeks for recovery. Another thing to consider is where he will be playing on the field. Although Rockies management wants Cargo to play CF, it would make more sense to limit the injury risk and play newly-acquired Drew Stubbs in center. There is no doubt Carlos is a first round pick, but just like his Bash Bro, it comes with risk. Stay tuned for news during spring training on where he is and what the team decides to do with their outfield, but Cargo is worth the price and can lead you to the promised land of fantasy domination.
2014 projection: 130 games, 90 runs, 140 hits, 30 doubles, 31 HR, 101 RBI, 22 SB, .309 AVG
Michael Cuddyer, OF
Michael Cuddyer surprised us all last year when his AVG shot up to .331 with a season of solid power numbers: 20 HR and 84 RBI. He has never hit above .300 in a season so I don’t expect that to continue, but with a career high of 32, another season of 20 HR isn’t out of the question. With his 1B eligibility in some leagues it makes him a decent consideration for an OF2. He has had some bad luck with injuries the last two years, but he managed to play 130 games despite 2 trips to the DL. If he and everyone in his supporting cast stays healthy, look for Cuddyer to have another solid season.
2014 projection: 140 games, 79 runs, 149 hits, 30 doubles, 24 HR, 85 RBI, .290 AVG
Justin Morneau, 1B
Morneau signed a 2-year deal to take his offense to the Rocky Mountains. He hopes that he can get back to his prime years as a Twin, because his time with the Pirates didn’t end well. Thankfully for fantasy owners he clubbed 17 HR before he got traded, because he threw up a big goose egg with Pittsburgh. He finished with 77 RBI on the year, hitting only .259. The one thing that is noteworthy about Morneau is that he mashes RHP (but can't hit LHP anymore). Some might think that at this point in his career he is nothing more than a backup 1B/Utility player, but if you have a right-handed 1B to platoon with him in daily lineup leagues, he could return nice value as a specialty player. He has a great supporting cast and a great park to hit in. His 30 HR seasons might be far behind, but I don’t think 20-25 HR is out of question here. He doesn’t have any pressure to be a big hitter and he might be able to find his stroke again.
2014 projection: 147 games, 67 runs, 33 doubles, 21 HR, 82 RBI, .272 AVG
Drew Stubbs, OF
Stubbs is getting a new beginning, with his third team in the last 3 years. He struggled a bit last year trying to find his spot with the Indians, hitting .233 with 10 HR, 45 RBI, 59 runs and only 17 SB. Normally he is a lock for 30 plus SB, but a lack of consistency and strikeout problems led to his trade to the Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki has been a huge advocate of the move, telling the media he thinks Stubbs should be the starting CF instead of Carlos Gonzalez. I tend to agree with him, because it limits the injury risk to Cargo. Fantasy owners could snag Stubbs really late in the draft as an OF4 for his wheels alone, but owners might be intrigued to see if the Coors Field effect helps the former prospect. His draft stock might shoot up if he can win the leadoff job with the Rockies, but his strikeout rate might prevent that. This is a player worth watching in spring training to see how it all unfolds….dare I say sleeper pick? His career highs are 92 runs, 22 HR, 77 RBI, and 40 SB. Stubbs should be a hot topic coming out of spring training, so make sure to check back before the season starts on where he should get drafted.
2014 projection: 153 games, 80 runs, 115 hits, 20 doubles, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 33 SB, .240 AVG
Wilin Rosario, Catcher
Rosario is establishing himself as one of the top catchers in the MLB and fantasy baseball. Last year he hit .292 with 21 HR and 79 RBI in 121 games. He hasn’t gotten the fanfare that some of the other catchers have so his draft value is amazing. If your team is in need of a catcher, lock him up before someone else in your league does. He isn’t fast and doesn’t look to walk, but he has had an increase in AVG and back-to-back 20-plus HR seasons. There has been no indication that Rosario will slow down. He reminds me a lot of Brian McCann. Look for him to continue his rise and turn in another great season.
2014 projection: 134 games, 138 hits, 25 doubles, 26 HR, 83 RBI, .289 AVG
Nolan Arenado, 3B
Nolan Arenado snagged the 3B job for the Rockies after his strong rookie showing. In his first year in the show, he hit .267 with 10 HR and 52 RBI. Arenado scored 49 runs, but don’t look to him to get you any stolen bases. He might have a few, but running isn’t a big part of his game. He has hit around .300 every year in the minors and in his best season hit 20 bombs and drove in 122, so he has big potential at the hot corner. He did have more strikeouts (72) at the major league level than he did any full season in the minors so his AVG might take some time to adjust. Look for Nolan to be one of the young players someone takes a shot on in middle rounds, so if you want him you might have to pay for him- especially in a keeper league. This kid has big skills and is only going to get better. With experience and with a great supporting cast the sky is the limit. Most people do not play with defensive categories, but he did make history when he became the first National League Rookie to win a Gold Glove, so everyone is looking forward to his sophomore year.
2014 projection: 145 games, 55 runs, 145 hits, 35 doubles, 17 HR, 72 RBI, 3 SB, .275 AVG
The Bottom Line…
When you are drafting hitters look for the Rockies to be a good source for stats, but remember that drafting a Rockies player comes with inflated home/road splits and in most case a decent amount of injury risk. Look to draft a backup at the end of your draft as security. Next wekk I will look at the pitchers on the Rockies staff you can get some value out of.
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