Friday, March 15, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Colorado Rockies

Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections. 



We now try to give some "love" to the Colorado Rockies

PROBABLE STARTING ROTATION

  1. Juan Nicasio
    • Good: 3.24 K/BB along with a 8.13 K/9 would make Nicasio fantasy gold in any format.
    • Bad: Injuries and questionable command has been the story for Nicasio since his he was called up to the majors in 2011.  He's also coming off a terrible 2012.  Might struggle with homeruns with a HR/9 of 1.15. It's not in the danger zone, but considering where he pitches, might be a major concern in 2013.  He's also been struggling this spring.
  2. Jhoulys Chacin
    • Good: K/9 of 7.47 would make him a good selection in any fantasy format.  1.02 HR/9 is actually quite good. He also is coming back to the Rockies after a successful appearance at the World Baseball Classic
    • Bad: He's projected to have control problems and a WHIP of 1.41 makes him useless in any fantasy format.  He actually projected to be the #4 starter in Colorado.
  3. Drew Pomeranz
    • Good: A few websites have Pomeranz listed as the #3 starter on the rotation which is fantastic news considering his struggles in both Minor and Major Leagues last season.  Plus he was projected to compete for the #5 spot.  He's actually had a decent spring as well, thus far.  Just like the other two, young hurlers mentioned, Pomeranz is projected to post impressive strikeout totals in 2013 (K/9 7.82).
    • Bad: Unfortunately, the young pitcher, based on his control and command problems from last season, is expected to continue to struggle in 2013 (BB/9 of 3.97, WHIP of 1.46, HR/9 of 1.24).  
CLOSER
  1. Rafael Betancourt
    • Good: Betancourt's numbers are pretty similar to other elite closers in the game.  He can rack up the K's (K/9 of 10.37), can control his walks (supposed to have a slightly better BB/9 than J.J. Putz and Jim Johnson), and despite being a flyball pitcher (Groundout/Flyout ratio of 0.5 over the last three seasons), his HR/9 is only at 1.07.  Here's the kicker: Betancourt is supposed to have a better WHIP than Craig Kimbrel (1.03 vs Kimbrel's 1.06).
    • Bad: Age is a concern, but we've seen plenty of closers get a late start at the role and succeed into their late 30s; better than any young, "closer-of-the-future" type of pitcher.  However, despite pitching for a new contract for 2014, the risk of him being dealt to a contender and being relegated to a setup role is out there.    
FANTASY ADVICE

You'll notice that we only listed 3 starting pitchers with mediocre projections.  The other two pitchers listed at the backend of the Rockies' rotation--Jorge de la Rosa and Jeff Francis--are two pitchers with mediocre projections and aside from their age (above 32), they also have seen a decline in production.  I've never like Francis anyway and de la Rosa's injury history it too tough to overcome for my fantasy team. 

The three pitchers listed are all below the age of 26 and, therefore, have a chance to improve.  Plus their strikeout potential is enough to warrant consideration, despite pitching in Colorado.  The biggest surprise is Pomeranz who looked to be headed back to Triple-A during the offseason and now, his prospects for 2013, are on the way up.  As far as drafting any of those guys, I wouldn't reach too high for them.  There's too much risk involved, but at the right price, may prove to payoff in a big way.  Again, these pitchers are best used on your team as bench players, but the payoff might come as the season rolls along and pitch to their capabilities.  Extreme patience will be needed, nonetheless.

I'm a bit biased when I speak of Betancourt as he's helped my fantasy teams for the last two years now, including a trip to the championship game in my keeper league last year.  However, his days as a useful closer in fantasy might be coming to an end by mid-season.  His numbers suggest that he should be drafted as a last ditch effort to acquire an elite closer, but this season, you might be better off selecting him as a high end, second tier closer--at best.  It's not fair, but that's baseball economics for you.

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