This post is part venting and part dire warning. While I appreciate efforts to identify a potential roto opportunity, aren’t the Rockies the worst possible team to invest anything in trying to predict what the manager will do?
Two years ago on opening day Clint Hurdle whimsically decided to start Stewart at 2B over Barmes. For whatever reason Barmes only qualified at SS going into the season, but starting opening day would qualify him at 2B. He clearly won the job in Spring Training, and had a vote of confidence from the entire org. It was truly a sound strategy not to waste a draft pick on a starting 2B to back up Barmes, who was their 2B going into the season. Clint Hurdle cost me at least 5 wins in April alone, first trying to patch my lineup with what I had, then having to give up real value somewhere else to go get a meh guy. I don’t think Barmes wound up qualifying at 2B that season until late May. And of course Hurdle accomplished something very hard for a so-called franchise saviour to do: with one absurdly ridiculous move, he completely lost his clubhouse on opening day (this is the same spring the infamous Trey Hillman managed to lose him team on the opening day of Spring Training). You just don’t give a guy a job and then decide to sit him on opening day, at home, especially in favor of a guy with almost no experience at the position who you know will struggle defensively.
Last year after Tracy made a series of sound personnel moves to correct Hurdle’s mistakes the prior season, I traded for and protected Dexter Fowler, and used a high draft pick on Iannetta. My backup catcher was what they are supposed to be, a backup. Tracy barely played him of course and I had no choice but to sell low before he was sent down to AAA and had no value at all. Same with Fowler, another example of a guy being given the job prior to Spring Training based on the end to the previous season, barely getting any playing time, then being blamed for not being able to hit .300 in a pinch hit role at 23, a position he’d never been in.
Tracy of course took a lot of heat for his bizarre decisions down the stretch, including deplorable bullpen management. I don’t know how Rockies fans stand it with their last two managers. In fact, they’ve had some doozies before, like Don Baylor, and still managed playoff teams. Leave them to suffer for all of us, and don’t touch any Rockies player who is not absolutely, 100% guaranteed to play. As far as I can tell, there are only four or five of them. Outside of those guys, don’t count on anybody else as a lock to even play, or receive backup saves opportunities. Denver is bizarro world for managers.
I think Fowler, and Iannetta are good bets to start this year and maintain their status as starters. Fowler had some serious difficulties batting from the left side last season, worked on it in AAA, and then established himself more as the season went on at the MLB level, and there’s no second catcher (IE Olivo) this year to interfere with Iannetta.
Places where I wouldn’t put my money on a true starter are whichever corner OF spot CarGo isn’t playing (it should be a Smith/Spilborghs platoon in left), and second base, where the team currently has about 40 people in the mix (so I wouldn’t buy into any hype around EY2, or Chris Nelson)
Lastly, the team hired a new hitting coach for this season, which I think partly has to do with the team’s understanding that Fowler, Iannetta, Stewart, and Smith should all be a little (or a lot) better than they’ve been thus far.
Comment by Resolution — December 28, 2010 @ 6:25 pm
Well, my main point is that given the circumstances for both, as a fantasy owner there was no reason to believe that they would not both get plenty of ABs last year. Fowler’s splits were known, but they said they would put him out there and get him ABs as they thought he was talented enough to work on it at the MLB level. I think they were right in the beginning, my issue is that Tracy changed his mind. Again, they knew what they were doing committing to Fowler before the season, but he abandoned the plan after about three games.
Iannetta was a little different, as Tracy claimed to be playing the “hot hand” with Olivo, then suddenly when he doesn’t get AB’s Iannetta struggles. Surprise!
His decisions didn’t make sense last year, so my point is that whether you have a new hitting coach or not, the likelihood is that he will make a decision about a random player not CarGo or Tulo or Jimenez, that might just wreck your team for a stretch of weeks.