KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Colorado Rockies?
Is Carlos Gonzalez a no-brainer mixed first-rounder?
Car-Go (.336-34-117 line, with 26 steals) was on more successful 2010 teams than just about any other player. At 25, he can only get better, right? Is there anyone who believes that a youngster who was already (far and away) fantasy's top player will improve upon those numbers? Most expect him, with good reason, to take a step or two backward in 2011.
Car-Go baggage or prize?
Even with some decline, though, how bad will he be? Is .291-26-102, with 22 stolen bases, simply not good enough? Your answer depends on your strategy and whether you believe his floor is lower than that. Maybe Gonzalez is the exception to the rule if you avoid outfielders initially because the position is so deep, but experienced players at other positions beckon.
The first round is no longer a place to avoid risk. You have a handful of rounds to acquire relative security. Car-Go probably won't finish the season with a top-15 stock, but he has just as good a chance as any.
How believable was Ubaldo Jimenez's performance in 2010?
So believable that many owners are expecting something close to a repeat. So unbelievable that most prognosticators are expecting substantial regression.
Jimenez's 12-start stretch to open the season included 11 wins and a sub-1.00 ERA; that combo was a first in MLB. The right-hander can dissect hitters like a surgeon (fitting, since his parents thought he'd be a doctor), but he still walked 3.74 batters per nine and posted a 3.80 ERA in the second half. He understands how to pitch at Coors Field, but it's still a dangerous park.
Jimenez will be good for years. Without an unprecedented streak and with some correction in other areas, however, he looks more like the 2009 version.
Which Rockies will be next to take a big step?
Jhoulys Chacin demonstrated his tremendous growth following a post-break call-up. His combination of strikeout and grounder-coaxing abilities has him poised to carry that into a full season, and for a very fair price.
In the counting cats, Dexter Fowler made no notable progress; in fact, on the base paths, he was timid and less successful. But his understanding increased greatly, with more gains in some indicators, reflected in a strong second half. Home run power is a ways away, but increased on-base percentage and 30-steal promise await you.
Chris Iannetta is approaching make-or-break territory. Last season Colorado committed dollars to him, but not playing time. As long as the club sticks with him, he'll approach 20 ding dongs.
An unmanageable control rate stands in Franklin Morales' way. He was pretty sharp after his late-season call-up. He's out of options. But only a Huston Street absence gives Morales a remote shot at fantasy value. He'll have to throw strikes this year to prove that he's more than a specialist beyond it.
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.