As the MLB season quickly approaches, we here at Cosby Sweaters wanted to provide you with the necessary tools to go into this year confident in your 2013 baseball knowledge. Over the next 4 weeks we will supply you with a summary of all 6 divisions and 30 teams that make them up. We will assess each team’s line-ups, pitching rotations, potential downfalls and give a final outlook on what to expect from each franchise as the season plays out.
We won’t forget about all of you fantasy geeks either, as we will give you some players to target or avoid in your upcoming drafts. All of this will lead up to our staff predictions, the week before opening day, on this season’s playoff outcomes and individual awards. The smell of nacho helmets and overpriced beer is almost upon us. We hope you are as ready for Baseball to be back as we are!
Colorado Rockies: This year’s Rockies team is made up of a talented young core of bats mixed in with a few savvy veterans, but will likely be plagued by what seems to be the same issue year after year. They have consistently been weighed down by a lack of elite pitching for as long as we can remember. In 2012 they ranked near the top of the MLB in Batting Average (2nd), Runs (6th) and On Base Percentage (6th), but sat in dead last (30th) in both ERA and WHIP (Walks & Hits per Innings Pitched). They ended up having their worst season in the franchise’s two-decade history, finishing up at a disappointing 64-98 .
1. Dexter Fowler (CF)
2. Josh Rutledge (2B)
3. Carlos Gonzalez (LF)
4. Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
5. Michael Cuddyer (RF)
6. Todd Helton (1B)
7. Wilin Rosario (C)
8. Chris Nelson (3B)
Bench: Tyler Colvin, Eric Young Jr., Jordan Pacheco, Jonathan Herrera, Ramon Hernandez
1. Jorge De La Rosa
2. Jhoulys Chacin
3. Drew Pomeranz
4. Juan Nicasio
5. Jeff Francis
Bullpen: Rafael Bentancourt (Closer), Matt Belisle, Wilton Lopez, Rex Brothers, Josh Outman, Chris Volstad, Tyler Chatwood.
Team Overview: While they have a new manager after bringing in first timer Walt Weiss (who played for the Rockies from 94′-97′) this offseason, that was unfortunately about the extent of their major changes. They made no big acquisitions and are basically returning the same pitching rotation as last year. 2012′s team had an excess of injuries to their roster, with the biggest one being franchise centerpiece Troy Tulowitzki (SS), who is coming back from a groin injury that cut his campaign short by 115 games.
Going into this season with a healthy and youthful lineup composed of the above mentioned Tulowitzki (28 years old), co-superstar Carlos Gonzalez (27 years old), recently re-signed Dexter Fowler (26 years old) and surprising youngster Wilin Roasrio (23 years old), will give Colorado enough offensive firepower to put up consistent numbers game in and game out. The presence of veterans Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer will undoubtedly help the younger players on this roster stay focused through the ups and (more likely) downs of the 2013 season.
While the offensive may be potent enough to go run for run with some teams, the pitching staff will most likely be putting the offense in the all too familiar position where the amount of runs needed on a nightly basis is just too great of an obstacle to overcome. While all things in baseball are subject to change, after finishing dead last in E.R.A., W.H.I.P. and Opponents Batting Average last year, and no major overhaul to the make-up of the arms available, you can’t help but assume inevitable mediocrity out of this rotation going into the season.
Fantasy Spin: As the case is in all fantasy sports, the majority of sleepers are a product of situational opportunity. Tyler Colvin has been waiting for that opportunity for 3 years. In his short stint with the Chicago Cubs, many thought his skill set was superior to then Right Fielder Kosuke Fukudome. His playing time was sparse though, simply due to the obligatory playing time given to Fukudome because of the horrendous contract he was awarded. Seeing that Todd Helton is 39 years old and in the final stages of his career, there is a potential opportunity to keep an eye on here. Whether it be due to injury or the Rockies simply turning the page on the veteran Helton, look for Colvin to get some regular playing time between 1B and some occasional starts in the OF. Given the chance, I believe Colvin can be an everyday player with a ceiling somewhere along the likes of .265/25/85.
Aside from Colvin being the most intriguing potential fantasy story on this roster, there are some no brainer situations as well. Troy Tulowitzki is again the best SS on the board this year, and because of his injury history may slip a bit in your draft. If I’m you, I don’t let Tulo fall out of the first round. Mainly because the position of Short Stop, along with Catcher, have the least amount of impact players available this year. The value in having the top tier players at those positions is an unquestionable advantage throughout your fantasy season. Carlos Gonzalez is a top 7 fantasy Outfielder and should go in the first two rounds of any draft. Aside from their two franchise players, there isn’t much to gawk at on this roster from a fantasy perspective. Us fantasy nerds are still waiting for Dexter Fowler to have his breakout year, because there is no doubt that all of the tools to be a fantasy stud are present. After getting some financial security in the offseason, this could possibly be the year it all comes together for Dexter. Willin Rosario & Michael Cuddyer will be an asset on every roster but limit your expectations. Finally, STAY AWAY from Todd Helton and any Pitcher not named Bentancourt. Someone in your league WILL draft these people. Don’t be that someone.
Prediction: Things in the NL West have changed drastically for the Rockies since the days of Larry Walker, Dante Bichette and Big Cat Andres Gallaraga. Playing a combined 76 games against their rivals in the NL West, which is now littered with elite pitching, offensive superstars and owners who are very active, could very well result in a long season for the Mile High fans. I love what this Colorado offense can do to a scoreboard, but it’s hard to imagine them making enough noise to validate anything but a 4th or 5th place finish in this Division.
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Eric Young Jr.
New York Yankees