Many of you play the fantasy baseballs, on whatever provider you prefer, and there are just so many conversations to have about who to pick up, who belongs in the first round, who's a keeper, who's a good pick in a deep NL-only Roto 6x6 salary capped league. The toughest part of being a die-hard fan of any team while playing fantasy baseball is not burying your roster in players because of your hometown love for them.
The question we have to ask in this upcoming season is: which Rockies players are worth picking up, which are going to be just sentimental favorites?
The first obvious choice in the realms of "good" players is Troy Tulowitzki. Over the past 3 seasons, Troy Tulowitzki has been worth over 18 WAR, batted a combined .304/.376/.554, belted 89 homers, driven in 292, and played Gold Glove level defense at the 2nd most premium position in the game. Projections support a strong 2012 for Tulowitzki as well, putting him right around a .300/.375/.540 line with 30 homers and over 100 driven in. If you're playing in an OPS league, we can probably expect a .900+ OPS from Tulo next season. Don't take his speed for granted, either, as Tulo could notch 10-15 bases with some smart baserunning decisions.
The other obvious choice for Top Fantasy Players in Colorado is Carlos Gonzalez. Cargo may not be top-3 as far as outfielders go, he's certainly top-20, maybe even top-10, depending on your evaluation of talent. He's going to give you eligibility in all 3 OF spots (if your league gets that detailed), and he's going to do a decent job of it. Projections never give high batting average guys much credit as far as carrying said stats into next season, but Cargo looks to be capable of putting up a similar line to Tulo, but factor in 20+ SB potential. It's not unreasonable to think that Gonzalez could go 30-30 in 2012.
One player who could be good, depending on what league you're in and if that breakout that we saw 2nd half 2011 sticks in 2012, is Dexter Fowler. Fowler's upside could look something like .280/.360/.450, maybe even more in the OBP/SLG department if he can pump a few more hits into his batting average. Projections don't like him for more than 17 steals, so a lot of his appeal may drain away right there, along with the rest of his lack of traditional counting stats.
Another interesting name is Ramon Hernandez. Not a top-flight contributor, but a .280/.348/.413 line over the past 3 years from the Catcher spot and a similar line projected in 2012 could make Hernandez a decent late-round pickup.
On the pitching end, the best you can really say about the Rockies is that Rafael Betancourt strikes a lot of guys out and will be closing in 2012. He should give generally solid bullpen numbers. Rex Brothers and Matt Belisle are also in line for the save opportunities, depending on how Betancourt holds up throughout the season. Brothers also should give you pretty strong strikeout numbers, and possibly even some holds.
In terms of rotation depth, Jeremy Guthrie will give you innings, and Chacin might be set for that breakout season we've been hoping for; maybe the conflict of the past week or so will spur him into better production levels. Past those two, however, you're banking on upside and development of young guys like Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, or surprises from some of more unexpected players like Esmil Rogers or Tyler Chatwood (as Chatwood might just spend all of 2012 in the minors, given his age and development).
Sad to say it, but the Rockies aren't going to have much in terms of the elite fantasy players outside of Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. This team is generally solid throughout, but a lot of the production will be spread around the guys not named Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. This is going to make guys like Marco Scutaro and Michael Cuddyer that much more valuable, esp in NL-only leagues. But the fact is that fantasy values the top performers, and outside of our 2 big boys, the team may be deep, just not star-studded.