Continuing with the NL West Top 5 series, the Colorado Rockies are up next lead by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and starting pitcher Ubaldo Jiminez.
Here are the Top 5 Rockies for 2010:
1. Troy Tulowitzki-after a sub-par 2008 season, Tulo had a breakout season in 2009 going 32-92-101-20-.297-.377-.552. What helped Tulo was a huge jump in his HR/FB% f rom 6.7% in 2008 to 18.5% in 2009, along with an increase in his FB% from 37.3% to 39.8%. His BB% increased from 9.0% to 11.6%, but his K% also increased from 14.9% to 20.6%. The increase in his BB% is nice, but his HR/FB% is just not sustainable, especially with the humidor now in place at Coors Field. Bill James projects a 27-89-99-15-.291-.371-.513 in 2010.
2. Carlos Gonzalez-Gonzalez had a mini-breakout season in 2009, finally becoming the hitter he was projected to be as a prospect. In 278 at bats in 2009, CarGo went 13-29-53-16-.284-.353-.525. He has had a problem with striking out, as he K'd 25% of his at bats, but he did have a BB% of 8.8%. Should he become a regular in the Colorado outfield, which is expected, he should join the 20-20 club in 2010. James projects him to go 19-73-78-18-.280-.334-.485 in 2010.
3. Ubaldo Jiminez-Ubaldo is fast becoming the Rockies ace and once he can control his BB% he could be downright dominant. Jiminez won 15 games with a 3.47 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. His K/9 was 8.17 in 2009, up slightly from 7.79 in 2008. A big positive was a huge drop in his BB/9 from 4.67 to 3.51 in 2009, increasing his K/BB from 1.67 to 2.33. James projects him to win 13 games with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. I think Ubaldo exceeds James projections.
4. Brad Hawpe-Hawpe was on pace for a career year in 2009 as he went 14-59-.320-.396-.577 in the first half, then slumped in the second half going 9-27-.240-.370-.442. He has maintained a steady HR/FB% around 17.5% over the last three years, but his FB% has steadily dropped from 42.7% in 2007 to 39.3% in 2008 to 36.5% in 2009. His K% is steadily increasing over the last 4 years from 23% in 2005 to 28.9% in 2009, but his BB% has increased from 12.3% in 2005 to 13.4% in each of the last 3 seasons. James projects him to go 26-97-79-.280-.375-.501 in 2010.
5. Huston Street-Street was the Rockies setup man to begin the 2009 season, but he took over the closer spot in April and never looked back. Street had the best season of his career, saving 36 games with a 3.06 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and a K/BB% of 5.38, the highest of his career. James projects Street to save 31 games with a 2.37 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and K/B around 4.0
Sleeper Alert-Seth Smith/Eric Young-Smith has an outside shot to win a starting outfielder job in 2010, but should Brad Hawpe get traded, which is a possibility by the trade deadline, Smith will see alot of time in left field. Smith went 15-55-61-.293-.378-.510 in 335 at bats in 2009. James projects him to go 13-51-52-.288.362-.487 in 2010. Young has an outside shot at starting at 2B, but could be more of a super-utility guy playing 2B-3B, LF and CF. Should he get 300+ at bats in 2010, I can see 25+ stolen bases.