The Great Rockies Census of Spring 2013, Part 2

Doug Pensinger

Now with tables, for enhanced readability!

Welcome back to the Great Rockies Census of 2013, where we take a snapshot of the Colorado Rockies roster as Opening Day approaches. In Part 1, we examined (in alphabetical order) Nolan Arenado through Michael Cuddyer. Without any further ado, let's get started with Part 2.


Jorge de la Rosa

Age: 31

Draft Pedigree: signed as amateur Free Agent

Years to Free Agency: 1 (The Rockies have an $11 million option for 2014)


ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 WAR IP
MLB Career 4.96 4.49 4.29 7.94 4.42 1.07 10.5 780.1
2012 9.28 8.63 5.70 5.06 1.69 4.22 -0.3 10.2

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 0.4

Jorge de la Rosa's career numbers surprise me a bit, and not in a good way. That ERA is only a few bad starts from edging over 5. Of course, a lot of that is residual from his crappy years in Milwaukee and Kansas City; with the Rockies he's compiled a 4.38 ERA with good peripherals. Indeed, his new $10 million per-year contract was looking pretty nifty as he twirled 10 very solid starts out of the gate in 2011. Then his elbow went kerblooie and we lost him for a year and a half. He's a major wild card heading into 2013. Sometimes wild cards turn into aces; sometimes they cut the van's brakes and jump out the back.

Dexter Fowler

Age: 26

Draft Pedigree: 9th pick of 14th round, 2004

Years to Free Agency: 2

PA BA OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB UZR/150 WAR
MLB Career 2143 .271 .364 .427 104 28 64 -12.9 7.5
2012 530 .300 .389 .474 123 13 12 -17.5 2.9

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 3.9

Dexter Fowler is nearly impossible to pin down. Is he the butcher in center field that the defensive metrics claim, or the solid-to-great defender that the eyes insist is true? Can he maintain his absurdly high batting averages on balls in play (.353 career and .390 last year)? If not, how much will that affect his production? Ultimately, I see Dexter as being a major asset this year; he's entering his physical prime, his very good walk rate should buoy his value if his BABIP tumbles, and he's building off a successful campaign last year.

Jeff Francis

Age: 32

Draft Pedigree: 9th pick of 1st round, 2002

Years to Free Agency: 1


ERA
FIP
xFIP
K/9
BB/9
HR/9
WAR
IP
MLB Career 4.86
4.39
4.37
5.88
2.66
1.09
18.4
1178.2
2012 5.58
4.27
4.07
6.05
1.75
1.19
1.8
113

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 0.9

It appears that there are only two candidates remaining for the Rockies' Opening Day starting job: Jhoulys Chacin or Jeff Francis. So it's either a guy who was injured and ineffective last year, or a soft-tossing lefty who was just plain-old ineffective last year. Good lord, how did it come to this?

I don't mind Francis being in the rotation for 2013. We're facing a pitching crisis at the moment, and he ought to be able to provide stability while the front office confronts this crisis. He doesn't walk people, and if he coaxes enough bad contact, he might provide a sub-5 ERA. That would be enough to make him valuable; maybe not for a contender, but for a team in the Rockies' position. But having that kind of guy as the OD starter? Yeesh.

Carlos Gonzalez

Age: 27

Draft Pedigree: signed as amateur Free Agent

Years to Free Agency: 5


PA BA OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB UZR/150 WAR
MLB Career 2390 .299 .355 .518 104 99
86
0.9 16.1
2012 530 .303 .371 .510 122 22
20
-10.0 2.7

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 4.9

Almost without me noticing, this piece has turned into an examination of trends. Which Rockies players are trending up? Which are trending down? Unsurprisingly, after the last two horrible years, most players have been trending down, and Carlos Gonzalez is a prime example of this. His 2010 WAR: 6.2. 2011: 3.9. 2012: 2.7. Every rate stat has fallen for Cargo; wRC+, his fielding numbers, his base running numbers. There hasn't been a precipitous decline in any one stat (well, maybe fielding; that -10.0 is pretty brutal), but the simultaneous decline in all of them has really taken a bite out of his value. ZIPS is fairly bullish and I see no reason why a 27 year old should keep declining; I predict a bounce back year for Carlos in 2013.

Todd Helton

Age: 39

Draft Pedigree: 8th pick of 1st round, 1995

Years to Free Agency: 1


PA BA OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB UZR/150 WAR
MLB Career 9009 ..320 .419 .545 134 354
37
2.7 61.3
2012 283 .234 .343 .400 91 7
1
5.1 0.4

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 1.4

So many questions circle around Todd Helton this spring. How will his back hold up in what is likely his last year? How productive will he be when he is in the lineup? What will be the fans' reception of him after his recent arrest for DUI? That's a lot of unknowns heading into the season. At this point, I think it's unlikely we see anything close to vintage Todd Helton this year. Optimistically, maybe he hits for a solid average and gets on base at a better-than-.350 clip. If he does that with his typically above-average defense at first for 300 to 400 plate appearances, then we can be pretty happy about how his sunset season went. Less optimistically, his back doesn't hold up or the bat speed isn't there and he's forced to the bench.

In 2000 Todd Helton hit .372/.463/.698 with 42 homers and 147 RBIs. He was worth 8.6 Wins Above Replacement. Over his career, Todd is one of 22 players with a .300/.400/.500 batting line; and he's comfortably above that threshold. The man is one of the all-time greats, and--if the Rockies can't contend this year--all I want out of 2013 is for Todd to go out on his own terms, wrapping up a marvelous career with many an opposite field double or 9 pitch walk.

Also, Todd had a stolen base last year. Huh.

Ramon Hernandez

Age: 36

Draft Pedigree: signed as amateur Free Agent

Years to Free Agency: 1


PA BA OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB UZR/150 WAR
MLB Career 5646 ..264 .327 .417 96 166 37
-2.8 26.3
2012 196 .217 .247 .353 45
5
0
N/A -0.6

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 0.8

36 is old for any baseball player, but it's ancient for a catcher. Even before his injury problems last year, Ramon looked pretty shot; he didn't hit and he looked like he was running through quicksand on the base paths. With Wilin Rosario slated for the majority of innings behind the dish and with cheaper backup options already in-house (Pacheco, Torrealba), I would be surprised if Hernandez weren't traded by Opening Day.

He did not have a stolen base last year.

Jonathan Herrera

Age: 28

Draft Pedigree: signed as amateur Free Agent

Years to Free Agency: 2


PA BA OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB UZR/150 WAR
MLB Career 894 ..259 .323 .324 66 7 11 -2.1 0.4
2012 251
.262 .317 .351 68 3 4
-2.7 0.2

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 0.5

Jonathan Herrera is thiiiiis close to having a slugging percentage lower than his on base percentage for his career. If his defense were truly elite, I wouldn't mind having him on the roster; however, the defensive metrics seem to think he's at best average. I just hope the team stays healthy enough that he doesn't approach 250 plate appearances again.

DJ LeMahieu

Age: 24

Draft Pedigree: 30th pick of 2nd round, 2009 (Cubs)

Years to Free Agency: 5


PA BA OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB UZR/150 WAR
MLB Career 309 .287 .318 .384 76 2
1 6 1.1
2012 247
.297 .332 .410 84
2
1
4.7 0.2

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 1.9

DJ is still young, and he showed some encouraging skills last year. His defense grades out above average, and as the season wore on he started displaying some gap power. He's a tall drink of water at 6'4, and if he fills out a bit more, he might become league average at the plate. There's a little more to dream on with LeMahieu than with Herrera; the only question is where he would play. Rutledge, Tulowitzki, and Nelson/Arenado/Wheeler are all ahead of him on the depth chart of infield positions.

Wilton Lopez

Age: 29

Draft Pedigree: Signed as amateur Free Agent

Years to Free Agency: 2


ERA
FIP
xFIP
K/9
BB/9
HR/9
WAR
IP
MLB Career 3.14 3.21
3.17
6.80
1.57
0.72
3
223.2
2012 2.17
2.70
2.80
7.33
1.09
0.54
1.4
66.1

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 0.6

Wilton Lopez is one of the few new faces Rockies fans will be seeing this year. He came over from the Astros for Alex White. The Rockies hardly seem to be in a position to be giving up starters for relievers, but the Front Office apparently thought White would never figure out Coors Field. Lopez is a righty who doesn't walk guys, has a good ground ball rate, and has put up very good ERA's during his time in the League. He should be yet another solid piece in an effective bullpen. Having a good 'pen won't carry you to the playoffs, but it's better than nothing I guess.

Chris Nelson

Age: 27

Draft Pedigree: 9th pick of 1st round, 2004

Years to Free Agency: 4


PA BA OBP SLG wRC+ HR SB UZR/150 WAR
MLB Career 593 .284 .327 .427 90 13 6 -20.1 -0.7
2012 377
..301 .352 .458 105 9 2
-15.6 0.3

ZIPS Projected 2013 WAR: 1.0

Nelson put together a very strong back half to his 2012, bringing his batting line up to a respectable 105 wRC+. As with every Rockie, it seems, red flags abound; his BABIP was an unsustainably high .374 and the defensive metrics hated him. Nevertheless, he's penciled in as the Rockies' starting 3 bagger, and I agree with that decision. He has more power potential than LeMahieu, Herrera, or Pacheco, and I could see the defense improving. After all, he was a short stop in the Minors with average scouting reports; in theory 3rd is easier than short, and it's possible his struggles last year were the result of unfamiliarity with the position. Nolan Arenado will probably wrest the position from him mid-way through the year, but I see no reason to start his service clock in a year when the Rockies likely aren't contending. I still see some upside in Chris Nelson, and I'm interested to see how he does in 2013.

And thus concludes Part 2 of the Great Rockies Census of Spring 2013. You're probably asking yourselves, "Are we going to get a Part 3?" Oh, you better believe you're getting a Part 3.

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