helton and tulo
It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present Rockies Lineup.
C – Wilin Rosario
1B – Todd Helton
2B – D.J. LeMahieu
3B – Nolan Arenado
SS – Troy Tulowitzki
RF – Larry Walker
LF – Matt Holliday
CF – Carlos Gonzalez
SP – Ubaldo Jimenez
SP – Jorge De La Rosa
SP – Jhoulys Chacin
SP – Tyler Chatwood
SP – Aaron Cook
Closer – Brian Fuentes
Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Miami Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland A’s
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

Gerardo Parra Rockies
The Colorado Rockies’ misfortunes have opened the door for a couple of veterans to have increased fantasy value in the early going. Yesterday we discussed Mark Reynolds getting extra time with Ian Desmond on the shelf. An injury to David Dahl (rib) should lead to extra at bats for Gerardo Parra.
So far Parra has responded going five for nine (.556 batting average) with a run and four RBI in the first two games.
Parra hit .253 with 45 runs, seven home runs, 39 RBI and six stolen bases in 368 at bats for Colorado last year.
As I mentioned yesterday the Rockies have 13 home games in the next 21 games so that should play into Parra’s favor. Parra hit .294 at home last year (.210 on the road) with five home runs. For his a career he has a .289 average.
April was by far his best month last year in terms of batting average as well as he hit .287 compared to .241 the rest of the way.
So if you are looking for a good value in outfield for the first couple weeks of the season, Parra is a nice option.

Mark Reynolds Rockies
Mark Reynolds went two for three in the Rockies’ opener with a double, a home run, three RBI and a walk. With Ian Desmond on the shelf with a hand injury, Reynolds should see his fair share of at bats. While it seems like ages ago (actually it was 2011) when he hit 37 home runs, he should be a nice early source of power.
Reynolds hit 14 home runs in 118 games last year for Colorado in 393 at bats. He got off to a nice start last April, hitting .311 with two home runs, 11 runs and seven RBI in 61 at bats.
Throughout his career April has been a pretty solid month.  Reynolds hit a home run in 6.03 percent of his at bats, which is his second highest ratio (August – 6.52%). He also has his highest RBI per at bat ratio (18.55 percent).

April 647 39 6.03% 120 18.55% 0.238
May 835 41 4.91% 129 15.45% 0.255
June 845 44 5.21% 131 15.50% 0.237
July 772 44 5.70% 107 13.86% 0.209
August 767 50 6.52% 137 17.86% 0.262
September 666 34 5.11% 91 13.66% 0.209
October 38 0 0.00% 2 5.26% 0.105

Colorado plays 13 home games in their next 22 games, which plays into his favor. In 319 at bats at Coors Field Reynolds has a .301 average with 16 home runs and 56 RBI in 319 at bats.
Reynolds is likely available in your fantasy league. If you can stomach his average and strikeouts, he could be a decent power source early on.

Ubaldo Jimenez was placed on the 15-day disable list because of a cut on his thumb. He should be available on April 17th. Jimenez got off to a rough starting allowing five earned runs in six innings. Ubaldo got off to that incredible start last year, but historically April hasn’t been his strongest month. His April ERA is 4.38, which is the highest monthly ERA. The rest of the season he has a lifetime ERA of 3.44. Don’t hit the panic button just yet.

Dexter Fowler had a decent April that saw him hit .256 with 12 runs and four stolen bases in 82 at bats. He hit the skids in May batting .158 with six runs and two stolen bases in 57 at bats. After going hitless in eight June at bats he was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
It was there that he regained his confidence…and his stroke. He hit .340 in 27 games for the Sky Sox, scoring 23 runs in 27 games. When he returned to the Rockies, he brought his minor league success with him.
Fowler hit .287 (25 for 87) in July for the Rockies with 21 runs. He went on to hit .275 in both June (25 for 91) and July (28 for 102) and .500 (6 for 12) in October. That’s an average of .288 (84 for 292) with 54 runs from July through October.
While his overall HR (6) and RBI (36) numbers are far from impressive, he had five HRs and 32 RBI in those summer months. While I don’t expect him to turn into power hitter, he could hit around 8-10 next year if he can maintain that swing.
That’s not why you’re drafting him though. You’re looking for runs and stolen bases. He has scored 73 runs in each of the past two seasons in just 433 and 439 at bats respectively.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment was his regression from 27 to 13 stolen bases. If you take a chance on him, it won’t come at a high price. His average draft position, according to Mock Draft Central, is 236. That’s at the back end of the 20th round in 12-team leagues. It’s the perfect spot to take a player with 90 run and 30 stolen base potential.
Also check out:

ESPN is reporting that Colorado Rockies President Keli McGregor was found dead in his Salt Lake City hotel room. McGregor was just 48. Foul play is not suspected. McGregor leaves behind a wife and four kids. 

My thoughts and prayers are with the McGregor family and the Rockies organization. The sadness comes just days after Ubaldo Jimenez threw Colorado’s first no-hitter.

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Ubaldo Jimenez has disproved the notion that the Colorado Rockies can’t have an ace pitcher. Instead of paying to bring in a big name free agent pitcher, they groomed one in Jimenez. He was solid in 2008 and saw across the board improvement in 2009.

2008: 12-12, 3.99 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, .245 BAA, 172 K, 103 BB
2009: 15-12, 3.47 ERA, 1.23 WHIP .229 BAA, 198 K, 85 BB

The key to his success is his ability to produce ground balls. That’s almost a requirement in Coors Field. You keep the ball down, you keep it in the ballpark. He also did a good job of limiting free passes. He went from 4.67 BB/9 in 2008 to 3.51 in 2009. Couple that with an increase in K/9 from 7.8 to 8.2 and you can see why he was successful last year.

He was also very consistent last year.

Home: 102.3 IP, 8-5, 3.34 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .234 BAA, 86 K, 40 BB
Away: 115.7 IP, 7-7, 3.58 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .225 BAA, 112 K, 45 BB

And a force down the stretch.

First Half: 115.7 IP, 6-9, 3.81 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, .247 BAA 101 K, 46 BB
Second Half: 102.3 IP, 9-3, 3.08 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .209 BAA, 97 K, 39 BB

We know he’s Colorado’s ace, but can he be your fantasy ace as well? With numbers like that I think so. I can see him being ranked in the top 12 by season’s end. Personally I would prefer him as a #2 fantasy pitcher (see my SP rankings). If I miss out on Lincecum, Greinke, King Felix, Johan, C.C, Halladay, Haren, and Verlander, I wouldn’t mind having Ubaldo paired with Cliff Lee, Beckett, Wainwright, Kershaw, or Cole Hamels. That would allow me to address another positional need first, and then adding two big guns to my pitching staff.

What’s your take? Do you see Ubaldo as a #1 or a #2 in 2010?

Prediction:  17-12, 3.60 ERA, 1.25 WHIP,  195 K

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians:  Grady Sizemore

While Joe Mauer was supposedly set to sign a ten-year deal with the Twins according to WCCO, it appears the announcement was premature. There were, however, some other moves that were on a much smaller scale.

Melvin Mora inked a deal with the Colorado Rockies. He will serve as a utility player as he can play virtually every position. He will turn 38 on Sunday, and his fantasy value has probably dried up, as evidenced by his .260, 44 R, 8 HR, 48 RBI 2009 numbers. 

Kevin Millar, who’s also 38, will try his luck with the Cubs. Millar managed to hit just .223 with 7 HRs and 29 RBIs for the Blue Jays last year. He too has little to no fantasy value, and little may have skipped town.

The Reds bolstered their infielde by signing free agent SS Orlando Cabrera and trading for Aaron Miles. Cabrera will start for the Reds and likely hit in the two-hole. He had a solid year split between the A’s and the Twins hitting .284 with 83 runs, 9 HRs, and 77 RBIs. He has a good chance of replicating those numbers in Cincinnati. Miles will serve as a backup infielder and has little fantasy value.

Ryan Garko signed with Seattle. He’ll be used primarily as a bat off the bench to face lefties. He could also play some first, DH, and even have spot duty at catcher. He too has little fantasy value.

Now an early look at the NL West.

1. Will Chris Young continue to regress?
I’m not sure his average can dip any lower than .212 so I would expect that number to rise. Even if he gets up to his pathetic .235 career average, he’s useless unless he can get the HRs and SBs back. The problem is he didn’t steal a base after June last year. He did have 8 HRs in 108 September/October ABs (13.5 AB/HR). His numbers should be better than last year, but without a guarantee that he’ll get to at least a 20-20 level, I can’t justify taking on his average.

2. Can Troy Tulowitzki follow up his monster year with another one?

Absolutely. While he set the bar high with his .297, 101 Run, 32 HR, 92 RBI, 20 SB season, he already had a similar season in 2007. He absolutely punished the ball after the All-Star Break hitting .344 with 52 Runs, 16 HRs, 55 RBIs, and 9 SBs in 259 ABs. If he can get off to a better start, he should easily have his best average to date. He should also have more Runs and RBIs. He hit a fair share of HRs and destroyed his previous SB total. I’m not sure he increases in either category. In fact, I expect him to steal fewer bases in 2010.

3. Will Jorge de la Rosa be a solid fantasy option in 2010?
I have no doubts that he’ll continue to rack up the strikeouts. He has averaged 9.17 K/9 the past two seasons. He was 0-6 through May and went 16-3 the rest of the way. What really impressed me though is how he got his ERA (3.39) & WHIP (1.29) in order after June. You may be able to get him at a value because of the Coors Field stigma placed on pitchers.

4. Will Manny Being Manny mean better numbers this year?

Manny started on fire, got suspended for steroids, and wasn’t nearly the same hitter when he returned. He still managed to hit 19 HRs in 352 ABs (18.5). What suffered the most was his batting average. He hit just .229 in September. He’ll turn 38 in the beginning of the year, and I have a hard time believing he’ll ever be that .320, 35, 120 guy ever again. He’ll still put up good numbers. He’s too good of a hitter not to, but make sure when you draft him, you’re not drafting him on name value.

5. Is Clayton Kershaw ready to become a star?
Kershaw did everything you would want out of a pitcher last year except win. His ERA (.279), WHIP (1.23), strikeouts (185), K/9 ratio (9.74), and BAA (.200) were all very impressive. However he managed to go just 8-8. With numbers like that, the Wins are bound to come. With a little more luck, he could double his win output in 2010.

6. Can Kyle Blanks hit 30 HRs this year for the Padres?
Blanks was impressive at times last year hitting 10 HRs in 148 ABs. While his foot should be healed for the upcoming season, I’m afraid 30 HRs may be too tall an order for the young slugger. Had he got more seasoning last year, it would improve his odds, but I still think he’s a long shot to hit even 25 HRs.

7. Will Adrian Gonzalez get traded?

Doubtful. He’s only due $10.25 million over the next two years. They still need to put butts in the seats so don’t look for Adrian to be gone anytime soon.

8. Will Matt Cain be overpriced in 2010?
Probably. If you’re drafting him on the 2.89 ERA he posted last year, you’re probably looking for trouble. While I think he should post a solid ERA, it will likely be at least a half a run higher in 2010. Even as brilliantly as he pitched last year he managed to win just 14 games. Even Tim Lincecum managed just 15 wins last year. The Giants just don’t have the horses on offense to win a bunch of ball games. What you’ll get is a guy who wins around 13 games, with a 3.30ish ERA, 1.25ish WHIP, and 180 Ks, which likely won’t justify where he’ll be drafted.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

We’ve tracked Jhoulys Chacin in our Prospect Reports (click here for the latest), but as he continues to impress in the minor leagues the time has come to give him his proper respect.  After opening the season at 1-3 with a 4.87 ERA at Double-A, he’s responded by going 4-2 with a 2.41 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 55 K over his past 9 starts (56 innings).

Signed out of Venezuela back in 2004 (though he did not make his professional debut until 2007), “Chacin is best known for his devastating changeup, which he pairs with a low-90s sinking fastball to induce groundballs by the bushel” according to Baseball America recently.

That is the key to his success, as he’s posted a groundball rate of 61.2% over his brief minor league career.  To put that number in perspective, last season there were only two pitchers who induced groundballs at a level better than 60%, Brandon Webb & Derek Lowe.

Before we point to the fact that the majority of his success came in the lower levels of the minor leagues, he has posted a GB% of 59.0% in Double-A this season.  While that still is against inexperienced hitters, as he continues to show success moving up through the minors, the more confident we can become in his abilities.

He also has some strikeout potential, though he hasn’t been overly impressive in that department quite yet.  To date, he’s thrown 346 minor league innings and has posted a 7.9 K/9.  While that would be usable, is there anything to make us believe he can maintain it as he continues to progress?

His repertoire would appear to be conducive to the strikeout.  His ability to develop a third pitch, will be vital in not only his ability to continue to strikeout batters (your not going to blow as many people away in the upper levels with a mid-90s heater), but his long-term success as a starting pitcher in general.

Prior to the season, the Rocky Mountain News’ Tracy Ringolsby rated the Rockies top 10 prospects for Baseball America.  He rated him #2 behind Dexter Fowler and described his third pitch by saying, “His curveball doesn’t have the sharpness that Chacin will need to be a big league starter. He can throw the pitch for strikes, and it has some power at 78-80 mph, but right now it’s below-average.”

The final thing to point to for his success is his control, which has been impeccable thus far during his minor league career.  He’s posted a career BB/9 of 2.4, though he has regressed just slightly at 2.9 thus far this season.  Even during his recent 9 game hot stretch, his BB/9 is at 3.2.

It should not be unexpected for his walk rate to increase slightly as he progresses.  He’s facing more experienced hitters who won’t chase bad balls as much or will foul off a pitcher’s pitch to stay alive in the AB.

He’s not going to regress up to 4 or 5 walks a game, however.  Control is control, something he has proven he has.  As long as he can maintain the current level, coupled with all those ground balls, he has the potential to be an asset in the WHIP department.  His minor league mark is 1.12, displaying that.

The 2008 MLB.com Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year, he went 18-3 with a 2.03 ERA splitting time between two levels of Single-A at just 20-years old.  The righty is clearly on the fast track to the major leagues, and while it is not out of the question that he makes his major league debut this season, 2010 may be more likely.

The Rockies have had experience rushing pitchers to the major leagues, and not with positive results.  Look at what happened with Franklin Morales, for instance.

His time is going to come.  If you are in a long-term keeper league, stashing him away would not be a bad idea.  He has the potential to be a future ace pitcher and could be making a fantasy impact in the near future.  What more do you want?

What does everyone else think of Chacin?  Is he a pitcher you think will become a fantasy ace?  Why or why not?

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