Here is the third article in the 2011 Fantasy Sleeper series and today we discuss why Rockies second baseman Jose Lopez is a sleeper in 2011.
Lopez is coming off a year where he hit just .239-.270-.339 with 10 HRs and 58 RBIs in just under 600 at bats playing for Seattle. This after he hit .272-.303-.463 with 25 HRs and 96 RBIs in 2009. Lopez does not strike out much as he has a career K rate of 12%, nor does he walk much-career BB rate of just under 4%. His BABIP the last two years-.270 in 2009 and .254 in 2010-were both below his career rate of .280, so he has been a bit unlucky hitting in Seattle's inept lineup.
Lopez turned 27 in late November and is moving to Coors Field, so I see his BA and power numbers increasing in 2011, assuming he has a fulltime role, which is no guarantee. Lopez will be fighting for playing time with Ty Wigginton, Jonathan Herrera and Eric Young Jr. in spring training, but the folks at Purple Row, SB Nation's Rockies site, seem to think he will be the starter at second base this season.
One of the writers over at Purple Row, Rox Girl, had this to say about Lopez in a recent article over on Purple Row:
.....because I've done a complete 180 on Lopez and I think he's capable of putting up an All-Star level season with the Rockies in 2011. I'd be talking about something like .310/.340/.500 in a triple slash line.
That triple slash line seems a bit high to me, but I can see him improving on his 2010 season. Ron Shandler projects him to hit .268-.296-.401 with 13 HRs and 66 RBIs, but I can see him hitting better than that. I can see him going 16-76-.275, as all he needs is for a little more luck, his HR/FB rate to get back to his career rate of 7.2% (it was just 4.9% in 2010), and some playing time. Hitting in Coors Field should be a huge benefit compared to hitting at Safeco.