The second installment of sources of fantasy sleepers in 2008 focuses on the 2B situation of the World Series runners-up, Colorado Rockies. Unwilling to add a third year to last year's starter, Kaz Matsui, free agent contract, the team decided to try its luck its internal options - 26-year-old AAA 2B Jayson Nix. AAA 3B Ian Stewart and second-year converted SS-3B-OF Jeff Baker. Additionally, the Rox signed 2B Marcus Giles to a minor league deal as a fallback.
I cannot claim to disagree with Troy Renck at Denver Post, who answered this very question in his recent mailbag column.
-- Morgan, Littleton
Morgan - Second base will be the Rockies' version of "American Idol." Instead of going to Hollywood, the winner gets an all-expense-paid trip to St. Louis for opening day.
Nix, a terrific defender, is seeded first on the depth chart. He will get the benefit of the doubt, which means he will have to lose the job more than win it outright. Giles provides insurance if Nix doesn't hit. Baker is my dark horse because of his power and previous experience as a middle infielder in college.
I have long been a Stewart fan, but his transition from third to second figures to be extremely challenging. It should be obvious before the exhibition games in March whether it's worth continuing the experiment with Stewart and Baker.
I'd also add that Baker has prepared this off-season for the 2B role and dropped twenty pounds to do so. If he recaptures the power he had at Clemson, then he could be the best 2008 fantasy player of the lot.