2015 Colorado Rockies Team Preview: Fantasy 30 for 30

By on February 15, 2015
Ian Desmond was the only shortstop with more than Troy Tulowitzki's 21 HR in 2014, and Desmond had about 280 more at-bats. Photo Credit: Baseball Schedule

These are trying times in the Mile High City. After an abysmal 66-96 season for the Rockies, some changes were made including the departure of long-time GM Dan O’Dowd.

Troy Tulowitzki was a monster before a hip injury in middle August forced him to miss the rest of the season.

The pleasant surprises of the season were veteran Justin Morneau and newcomer Corey Dickerson, who both put up great numbers.

Now, let me provide two sets of stats that sum up the drastic night and day season the Rockies had in 2014:

2014 Colorado Rockies’ Regular Season Hitting Rankings:
  • Runs: 3rd (755) | Batting Average: 2nd (.276)
    OBP: 4th (327) | Slugging Pct: 1st (.445)
2014 Regular Season Pitching Rankings:
  • ERA: 3rd (4.84) | Quality Starts: 28th (70)
    WHIP: 30th (1.44) | BAA: 29th (.276)

We took the projected lineup, rotation and bullpen from RosterResources.com.

2015 Colorado Rockies Projected “Go-To” Lineup

  1. CF Charlie Blackmon
  2. RF Carlos Gonzalez
  3. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  4. 1B Justin Morneau
  5. 3B Nolan Arenado
  6. LF Corey Dickerson
  7. C Wilin Rosario
  8. 2B D.J. LeMahieu

Projected Pitching Staff

Rockies Starting Rotation:
  1. LHP Jorge De La Rosa
  2. RHP Jhoulys Chacin
  3. RHP Jordan Lyles
  4. RHP Kyle Kendrick
  5. LHP Tyler Matzek
Rockies Bullpen:
  • RHP Latroy Hawkins (closer)
  • RHP Adam Ottavino (setup)
  • LHP Rex Brothers (setup)

2015 Colorado Rockies Fantasy Stud: Troy Tulowitzki

The notion of Fantasy stars when discussing the Colorado Rockies is always a sticky situation. Most of our traditional studs from this team of years past have had injuries ruin their seasons. Or obscure players taking advantage of the friendly confines of Coors Field becoming Fantasy studs out of nowhere. The only name I feel comfortable inking in the category of “stud” would be this man:

2015 Colorado Rockies Team Preview - Tulowitzki meme

The age-old dilemma with Troy Tulowitzki, who is often regarded as the best shortstop in Fantasy Baseballame, is his seeming inability to avoid injuries and consistently play full seasons. The Rockies shortstop was having a fantastic 2014 campaign (21 HR, 71 RBI, .340 BA) before hip issues forced him to miss the rest of the season.

When Tulowitzki can play more than 140 games in a season, he is an absolute monster and easily hits first- or second-round value. See his 2009 and 2011 seasons (151,143 GP), where he mashed 32 HR/92 RBI and 30 HR/105 RBI with a batting average hovering around .300, respectively.

Tulo posted ridiculous WARs in those seasons, including a league-leading WAR of 5.1 before his injury in 2014. The face of the Rockies just needs to stay healthy to be a Fantasy stud, and trust me, as a resident of Denver, we are all praying this happens.

A couple of years ago, his teammate Carlos Gonzalez would have been easily included in this category, but injuries have also put a damper on CarGo’s production the past few seasons. CarGo could be a great sleeper candidate if he can also stay healthy, but he is too much of a risk to take in the early rounds of your 2015 Fantasy drafts.

Breakout Candidate: Corey Dickerson

I kind of copped out with this answer, as most would consider that Dickerson already “broke out” in 2014 with his monster year of 24 HR, 76 RBI, and a ridiculous .312 average. However, I think the Rockies outfielder can do bigger and better things in 2015, even platooning with Drew Stubbs. One Twitter contributor recommends shying away from Dickerson due to his home/road splits:

While Dickerson’s triple slash line at home (.363/.415/.684, 15 HR) was significantly higher than his road slash (.252/.305/.431). I think Fantasy owners can live with these splits because of the cheap power that Dickerson brings to the table.

Even with that poor road slash, Dickerson still had an ISO of .178 away from Coors Field, which was higher than Ian Desmond, Brian Dozier, and Adrian Beltre for their entire seasons.

My friend @BlakeStBlogger thinks Dickerson will play somewhere in the neighborhood of 110 games this season, with that number potentially going up if someone like Charlie Blackmon were to get dealt before Opening Day. This is very promising, with a lot of those games being played at the notoriously batter-friendly Coors Field. I think with another monster year, Dickerson can go from a mid-round pick who is on some peoples’ radars to a concrete early round pick who is on EVERYONE’S radar.

Sleeper Candidate: Tyler Matzek

After the Rockies made him the 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Tyler Matzek had a roller-coaster ride in the minor leagues before injuries to starters Jordan Lyles and Eddie Butler paved the way for his first career major-league start on June 11.

As a rookie, Matzek provided stability to the fluctuating Rockies rotation and posted the best ERA (4.05) of any of the starters. It’s a shame he got overlooked for at least some NL Rookie-of-the-Year consideration, but in a small market like Colorado, one can’t be too surprised.

As expected from a rookie, Matzek had some duds mixed in with his solid starts (11 out of his 19 starts were quality starts) and in his final six starts of the season, he posted a 1.55 ERA with 38 Ks in nearly 41 IP.

The most significant peripherals that suggest Matzek can keep up this production are his 49.7 groundball percentage and a strand rate of almost 74%, two good signs that a pitcher can work his way out of a jam in an inning. Jordan Freemyer, a Rockies contributor for SB Nation, gives us this prediction for Matzek in 2015:

”I’m going to say something a lot of Rockies fans hoped to one day hear about him when he was drafted in 2009: Expect Tyler Matzek to be a cornerstone of the Rockies’ rotation in 2015 along with fellow lefty Jorge De La Rosa. He was second among Rockies pitchers in WAR in 2014 and with a full season in 2015 could very well lead the pitching staff in that stat.

It all seems to have come together for Matzek, as he has finally taken the stuff that made him a first-round pick and combined it with a mentality of attacking the strike zone. Look for him to build on his 2014 success, especially at the end of the season, and turn in an even stronger season next year.” – Jordan Freemyer, SBNation.com

Bust Candidate: Carlos Gonzalez

Sure, we can all dream that CarGo can put up a season like he did in 2010, where he mashed .336 with 34 HR and 117 RBI. However, a huge injury risk and some scary peripherals make selecting Carlos Gonzalez come Draft Day a slippery slope.

The Rockies sharp-throwing outfielder has only played more than 120 games three times in his career, and we are all well aware of the notorious injury bug that continues to surround CarGo.

In the 2014 season, Gonzalez had a strikeout percentage of 24.9% and a BABIP of .283, both indicating that he has regressed from previous seasons at the plate. As a Rockies fan and Denver native, I wish all the best for CarGo this season, but I would let him be someone else’s headache.

Top Rookie: Jon Gray

The Rockies are playing it cautious with their top minor-league prospect Jon Gray, however, many writers expect the third overall pick in the 2013 draft to be called up for the rotation at some point this season.

Gray played his first full professional season this past year with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers where he went 10-5 with a 3.91 ERA.

“He’s a little ways away still, but if he attacks some of the things off the field, as far as mentally and putting forth the work every day – like I said, he’s got to set the tone from pitch 1 – when he embraces that and understands that, the sky’s the limit for him.” — Kevin Riggs, Double-A Tulsa Drillers manager

The Rockies and their fans need a new ray of hope after their last highly regarded pitching prospect, Ubaldo Jimenez, made a boom and fizzled very quickly. Gray could provide that hope — sometime around July or August.

What Should We Know About the 2015 Colorado Rockies?

2015 Team Previews: NL West

A lot of people, myself included, expected the Rockies to have a very eventful offseason leading up to the 2015 campaign, but it has been largely a disappointment so far (think Nick Hundley, Daniel Descalso, Kyle Kendrick and David Hale).

Offense has never been an issue for the Blake Street Bombers, but a big portion of the fan base wanted to see the Rockies make a splash in the free-agent pitching market, both for an ace and some help for the atrocious bullpen.

If the Rockies’ stars at the plate can remain healthy for a large majority of the 2015 season, that lineup can carry this team to a .500 record. However, if the Rockies wish to take the next step (into the postseason presumably), the 2015 Colorado Rockies starting rotation and bullpen need to make immense strides.

Troy Tulowitzki Photo Credit: Baseball Schedule

Brendan O'Brien-Cockson
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Brendan O'Brien-Cockson

Brendan is currently a Business/Finance student at Colorado State University, and has a passion for anything professional sports. He recently started contributing for FantasySquads.com, and can be found on Twitter @FantasyRam, where he talks Cincinnati Reds and Fantasy Baseball. I’d also like to give a big shoutout to my friend Austin with @BlakeStBloggers for helping me with this preview. Give him a follow for updates on Rockies news and rumors!
Brendan O'Brien-Cockson
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