Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rockies Gearing Up For 2012 Season

The grass is fresh, the sun is out, and purple pinstripes are back to being acceptable on clothing. All of the Rockies' players have reported to camp, and the first Spring Training game is this Saturday, March 3, against the Diamondbacks. Another season of Rockies baseball is upon us, and my expectations are deservingly high for a revamped Rockies team. I have extremely high expectations for the Rockies this season because the Rockies made numerous moves and non-moves that sent away a slew of fan favorites. Don't get me wrong, I understand that sometimes there needs to be change for a team to grow, but I need these changes to leave no doubt in my mind that these were the right moves for the team. I need to trust and believe that the Rockies feel like a team of older, hard-nosed veterans will be able to constantly defeat younger, more athletic teams such as the Diamondbacks, Giants, Padres, and Dodgers. My doubts are there, but I will continue to root for my home team, because the 7th inning stretch song tells me to do so. Still, I have my concerns going into 2012...

Jamie Moyer drinks Fountain of Youth water
In hopes to have a healthy lineup come opening day, Jim Tracy announced that he'll be giving the older, more seasoned players entire days off. This means that a lot, and I mean a lot, of players will be getting entire off days. I think he forgets that his core group of guys are well past the age of 32. This worries me because you should be able to have faith in your players, no matter what age, to be able to put on a uniform everyday and be at the ballpark ready to play. I don't care if they're older, they need to be at the ballpark for every spring training game ready to play. Spring Training sets the tone for the entire season, and if the younger players see that the older players are allowed off days to go golf or swim, then that's obviously sending them the wrong message. These players are getting paid to play baseball, not to be able to take off days so they can better their chances at staying healthy. I understand that players need rest, but they can take their off-days while still attending the games and practices. The younger players need to see the older players putting in just as much work because that's what great teams do. They practice together, they play together, and they learn from one another. And frankly, the older players need to be building up strength before the season, not trying to harness their strength. Allow the players to build themselves up physically and mentally during Spring 'TRAINING' and then strategically give them off-days throughout the season to harness and utilize their strengths. The goal shouldn't be to have everyone healthy for opening day, but to have everyone healthy for October 4, 2012.   

Jim Tracy counts sunflower seed shells
Another thing that Tracy is preaching is that the team needs to have more fun. Practice what you preach, Jim Tracy. I've never seen a manager that's supposedly having a good time sitting in the corner of the dugout picking away at his fingernails. If that's excitement, then Ron Washington is the exploding sun of enthusiastic managers. Now that the Rockies are stuck with Jim Tracy indefinitely due to a hand-shake agreement, they need to get more out of their manager. I believe that Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki are doing a better job of coaching and preparing the players this off-season than Jim Tracy. If the Rockies have a great season, the first person I'd credit for their success is Jason Giambi. He's become the cool uncle of the team, while Todd Helton continues to be the disciplinary father that you don't want to disappoint. Giambi and Tulo set up their own training camp this off-season and invited along the players of the Rockies to train with them for the past two months. This is what builds team chemistry, not going out publicly and saying that the team needs to have more fun. He made it sound like it was the players' faults that the team was boring, when in fact, it's the manager that controls the level of fun and enthusiasm in the club house and on the ball field. If I were Tracy, I'd allow Giambi and Tulo to manage the team, and I would become the biggest cheerleader the world has ever seen (yes, even bigger than Anna Watson). I hope Tracy becomes a manager that has fun and allows there to be consistency from day in to day out, but that means there needs to be a drastic change in his approach as a manager. 

Other than that, I'm fairly confident that the Rockies have assembled a group of guys that will play baseball as hard as they possibly can, both physically and mentally. I hope Tracy turns a new leaf and becomes the manager that this team deserves. I hope Helton stays healthy and has another respectable season. I hope Cuddyer makes us forget about the losses of Spilly and Smitty. I hope Scutaro is able to hold down the second base position for an entire year. I hope Tulo can repeat his season from last year, and that Cargo can repeat his season from 2010. I hope the rotation is set and ready by opening day, and that the young guns truly learn how to pitch this season (difficult task with Bob Apodaca as the pitching coach). I hope Rafael Betancourt becomes a dominant closer and has a 9th inning song that's just as empowering as Huston Street's song. I hope Dexter Fowler finally becomes Dexter. I hope we bring back the across the stadium cheer of "GO"..."ROCKIES" at Coors Field. I know these are a lot of hopes and expectations, but I deserve to have these hopes and expectations of a team that I call my team.


How do you think the Rockies will do in 2012? How do you feel like they look going into the 2012 season? Will you miss the purple pinstripes on the away uniforms?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fantasy Rockies

It's that time of year again. It's time to play GM. It's time to prove to all of your friends and a few strangers that you're better than them at filling out an MLB roster. And what wins leagues? Sleepers.

Both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez will go within the first 15 picks, but who are the guys on the Rockies that are flying under the radar that might be beneficial to your team? Here's a list of a few names that can be great bench additions, or even starters come opening day.

Michael Cuddyer
Ranked: 73
Average pick in mock drafts: 81.4

  • Cuddyer has eligibility at first base, second base, and the outfield. This makes him a wonderful option as your utility player or even your second base option due to the lack of depth at the position. He's going later than expected and that might be due to his age and change of scenery, but Coors Field should bump up his stats. Expect about the same production from Cuddyer in 2012 that he had in 2011. He's a great alternative to Ben Zobrist or Howard Kendrick.

Rafael Betancourt
Average pick in mock drafts:166.5

  • Betancourt will be the Rockies' closer in 2012 after the departure of Huston Street. He's always posted a low WHIP and a low ERA. He'll get strikeouts, and he'll pick up at least 30 saves in 2012. The only problem going into 2012 for Betancourt is that he's never been expected to be the everyday closer for an entire season. He can be picked up later than most premiere closers.

Jhoulys Chacin
Average pick in mock drafts:191.3

  • Chacin was pegged to be the Rockies opening day starter before the trade for Jeremy Guthrie, but now he's slotted at the number two spot in the rotation. That means number one stuff in the number two spot. He has a lot of upside, but he needs to polish his pitches before going into his third year of professional ball. He's a great late pick if you need one last starter to fill out your pitchers. He's perfect if you missed out on Ubaldo Jimenez or Gio Gonzalez.

Dexter Fowler
Ranked: 172
Average pick in mock drafts: 216.5

  • Dexter has always been a wishy-washy pick when it comes to fantasy baseball, but this could finally be his breakout season. He spent two months working out with Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi during the off-season and has supposedly packed on some serious muscle.  He'll be available late in the drafts because owners have been burned too many times in the past. He'll make for a solid bench player who could possibly turn into a starter come May. Expect his steals to go up from last year as well as his runs. Great addition if you're lineup is overloaded on power.

*I have to warn you that these last four guys are sleepers that you might not want to wake up*

Ramon Hernandez
Ranked: 325
Average pick in mock drafts: 222.1

  • He's always been a decent offensive catcher, but now he's only going to play in about half the games. Coors Field might help the offense, but he's also getting up there in age. He might be a last pick in an NL only league. Pick him up if you're a fan of veterans, but if you enjoy rookie no-namers, look to Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals.

Todd Helton
Ranked: 416
Average pick in the mock drafts: 230.5

  • Does the Toddfather have any gas left in the tank? Maybe. He hit for a high average last season, but his power numbers remain down as well as his playing time. You can put your faith into Todd for one last magical season, but that's a whole-lotta faith. Pick him up if you're a true Rockies fan and a firm believer in miracles.

Marco Scutaro 
Ranked: 311
Average pick in mock drafts: 231.7

  • He'll have eligibility at both second base and short stop, so that's a plus. He's coming off of his best offensive season of his career. Plus. He'll be the opening day starter at second base for the Rockies. Plus. The only negative is his age. He might be a great bench guy in NL only leagues or in deep leagues.

Casey Blake 
Average pick in mock drafts:N/A

  • If you want a risk, here he is! The starting third baseman for the Rockies isn't getting drafted in the mock drafts. He might find a final wind in Colorado, but I'd wait and let him ride in free agency and swoop him up at any sign of strong production.

A few other names to keep an eye on: Drew Pomeranz, Jeremy Guthrie, Nolan Arenado

Good luck on your draft day and look out for Bichette Happens.