Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Get Your Rockies Hitters!

It’s an exciting upcoming week for owners of Rockies hitters. If you don’t count yourself among that group, then this might be the week to join in on the fun. That’s because the team will be embarking on a full seven game homestand! For weekly transaction leagues, that means a full slate of games, all of which come at hitter friendly Coors Field. In these instances, I like to see which Rockies hitters languish in my leagues’ free agent pool so I could potentially take advantage of the strong schedule. So with that in mind, let’s actually review every single Rockies hitter, as any number of them could be available in your league depending on format and size.

Charlie Blackmon | CBS 26% Rostered

It’s been a while since Blackmon was fantasy relevant. In fact, we really have to go back to 2019 since he was a true fantasy force and more than free agent fodder in shallow mixers. On the positive side, he’s maintained his strongly improved strikeout rate from last year, and has already stolen more bases this year than he has in any season since 2018. His power has disappeared, but he has posted a home HR/FB rate more than double his road mark since 2020, the first season he was no longer an elite fantasy contributor. He has also batted .294 at home, versus .250 on the road. So while you definitely don’t want Blackmon starting during a road trip, he’s not a zero during a full week at home.

Brenton Doyle | 76% Rostered

A dramatically improved strikeout rate, increased walk rate, and bump in BABIP was all Doyle needed to become the solid power/speed combo we all dreamed of. Interestingly, his power is down, including his HR/FB rate and ISO, plus his maxEV and Barrel%, though his HardHit% is up. He’s also only sporting a .127 ISO, which is pretty surprising playing half his games at Coors who posted pretty decent marks in the minors.

Given his ownership rate, there’s a good chance he’s already rostered in your league. If not, he’s a pretty obvious pickup, as there’s both home run and stolen base potential during the week. Oddly, his BABIP has been higher on the road and is therefore barely batting higher during his short career at home. But the sample size is still rather small, so assume the park factors will do their work when he gets more PAs in the books.

Ezequiel Tovar | 93% Rostered

Tovar continues to swing and miss often, but since he swings so frequently and rarely walks, his strikeout rate hasn’t gotten out of control. This year’s apparent power and home run surge isn’t actually due to more strength. Instead, it’s a result of a big spike in fly ball rate, a mark that has shot up a full 12 percentage points compared to last year. His HR/FB rate and Barrel% have barely budged, while his maxEV has actually declined. But hey, more fly balls in Coors Field is a good strategy!

Will that elevated FB% continue? It’s anyone’s guess, but given his spot in the middle of the Rockies lineup, he’s a must start in a week where he plays at home. I have no idea how shallow the 7% of leagues that aren’t rostering him are, but if you play in one of them, I have to assume he’s a better play for some team at the shortstop or middle infield slot.

Ryan McMahon | 98% Rostered

Just 2% of leagues are leaving McMahon to swim around in the free agent pool, which probably means 2% of CBS leagues are playing with opposite day rules. There hasn’t been a whole lot that has changed in his profile, but his BABIP sits at a career best, as does his HardHit% and Barrel%. I doubt that BABIP stays that high, but it’s a good thing he’ll be playing at Coors all week, where his career BABIP stands at .339, versus just a .296 mark on the road.

Elias Díaz | 39% Rostered

Back from the IL after missing a couple of weeks, Díaz has been a perfectly decent fantasy catcher since joining the Rockies. He doesn’t do anything particularly well offensively, but doesn’t strike out often, while maintaining a HR/FB rate in double digits for the most part. The only thing to be aware of is his xwOBA overperformance, as he surely doesn’t deserve a .350 BABIP, even calling Coors home. But you don’t really care about that if you might just start him for a week.

Brendan Rodgers | 20% Rostered

Remember when Rodgers was a top prospect?! Our own Prospects Report tab on his player page show him last ranked as the team’s best prospect and 31st overall. Boy has he been a disappointment offensively. While he hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t exactly been much of a fantasy contributor, which is especially surprising given the park he calls home.

One of the main issues and what has held back his power upside is he has yet to post a FB% over 30% in any season of his career. That’s pretty shocking. He clearly has power, and enough so to take advantage of fly balls, so it’s odd to see so many seasons in a row with a GB% over 50% and FB% under 30%. His maxEV has always been at least 111 MPH, but his Barrel% marks have been mediocre at best, save for a third of a season last year when that snuck into double digits for the only time.

Since he’s swiped just one base his entire career, he needs to deliver power and batting average for fantasy owners to care. Like the other names, he’s been much better at Coors Field. His HR/FB rate is higher, though not significantly so, while his BABIP is dramatically higher (.359 at home vs .278 on the road). If there was ever a week to speculate, or you just have a mediocre middle guy to begin with, now’s the time to scoop him up (which I actually did myself in my home 12-team mixed league).

Nolan Jones | 82% Rostered

After a breakout 2023 upon his move to Colorado from Cleveland, Jones has been a major disappointment so far while he wasn’t on the IL due to injury. His Barrel% has plummeted, bringing his HR/FB rate down to half of last season, while his BABIP has collapsed below .300, despite a batted ball profile not that different than last year. His strikeout rate has crept back above 30%, but it’s not because he struggles to make contact.

The issue here is that he’s insanely passive. Like, he just doesn’t swing. In fact, he has only swung at 50.4% of pitches inside the strike zone, which is the lowest mark among hitters with at least 150 PAs. It follows then that out of 297 hitters, he ranks fourth highest in CStr%. So he’s literally just letting strikes pass by and then walking back to the dugout. I thought that’s what Little Leaguers did when they were afraid to swing the bat!

As a Jones owner, it’s frustrating to check the box scores each day and see the 0-fer with multiple strikeouts and assuming many of the strikes that led to the strikeouts were of the called variety. Why is he so passive?! Does he not recognize he’s letting strikes go by? Do the Rockies have a clue what’s going on?

Anyhow, if a seven game homestand can’t get Jones going, I don’t know what will.

Michael Toglia | 16% Rostered

The Rockies have finally decided to stick with someone for longer than a week and Toglia has won the first base lottery for the time being. He’s forced the Rockies to be patient by posting a 26.5% HR/FB rate, though his wOBA sits at just .291. His HardHit% is up slightly from last year, while his maxEV is down, but it’s his Barrel% that has surged that’s behind the power breakout.

Like Jones, Toglia has struck out a lot, but it hasn’t been because of lots of swinging strikes. Still, all the strikeouts, combined with a .200 BABIP has dragged his batting average to under the Mendoza Line. So right now, he’s just a power contributor, but a .334 xwOBA suggests it shouldn’t be this bad.

If it matters, his BABIP sits at .295 at home and just .205 on the road for his career. As a result, I think he makes for an excellent pickup this week in most league formats, assuming you could use the extra power.

Jake Cave | 0% Rostered

Am I the only one that thinks it’s hilarious that the 31-year-old Cave has become the team’s regular right fielder against right-handed pitching? Rather than actually give some of their younger players an extended look (Hunter Goodman, Sean Bouchard, etc) for a change, they give a guy who clearly won’t be part of their future most of the PAs. And the guy has posted just a .275 too so it’s not like he earned the starting job!

Anyway, Cave has suddenly stopped hitting fly balls, so whatever power potential he had has mostly disappeared with all those grounders. Still, his batted ball profile is now great for BABIP, but since he doesn’t steal bases, the lack of power means he doesn’t really do much for fantasy teams. You would have to be in a pretty deep league to take a stab here for the week.

Jacob Stallings | 4% Rostered

Stallings isn’t going to see as much playing time now with Díaz back behind the plate. However, if you’re in a deep league and okay playing the second catcher merry-go-round, he makes for a solid pickup for the week as his Barrel% sits at a career high, driving a career best HR/FB rate.

Hunter Goodman | 18% Rostered

Goodman was one of my sleeper names to watch this year to see if he ended up with regular at-bats, but I didn’t have any confidence in the team to give him an extended look. I guess it’s understandable after 107 PAs and a .293 wOBA to be relegated to the bench, but it’s not understandable when those PAs go to Cave, discussed above.

Goodman is the team’s fourth best prospect, so what good does it do to have him play every couple of days? His 114.7 MPH maxEV and 12.7% Barrel% confirm his big power, which has fueled a 21.2% HR/FB rate. He has taken full advantage of it with a 46.5% FB%, which is exactly what you want to see from a guy calling Coors home with such power skills.

Sure, he has rarely walked, and strikes out a lot, though not alarmingly so. But his results are being dragged down by a .203 BABIP (can he and Toglia get a ball to drop?!), and with that much power, you would really think the Rockies would just start him for the rest of the season and see what they have.

Since his playing time is questionable, he’s best left to daily leaguers who could plug him in when he’s in the lineup.

Aaron Schunk | 0% Rostered

I don’t know what a Schunk is and must have missed the news when he was initially recalled. However, he’s apparently ranked as the team’s 11th best prospect and looks likely to serve as the team’s utility infielder, until they get bored and find someone else. Schunk owns a touch of power, has posted average walk and strikeout rates, and has been a line drive machine throughout most of his minor league career. He looks to have the ability to do a touch of everything, with no standout skill. Hey, I’d probably be interested if he suddenly became an every day starter, but he’s of no use now given his role.

Sam Hilliard | 0% Rostered

I was so close to picking up Hilliard when he was recalled, but wanted to see how his playing time situation would shake out first. It’s a good thing I waited, because he has only started twice since his recall on June 21. Hilliard has shown some really exciting power and speed skills during his previous tenure with the Rockies, but a ton of strikeouts ensure he would be a batting average killer.

The Rockies clearly have no interest in giving him more playing time, perhaps at the expense of Cave, but in a daily league, I would be open to starting him when he’s in the starting lineup this week.





Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Anon
18 days ago

Toglia has been really unlucky the last 7 days – .409 xwOBA vs an actual .272 wOBA thanks to a 14.3% barrel rate. He has essentially no platoon splits this year, though he’s been better from the left side for his career (which is itself a pretty small sample size). I just grabbed him.

I’m with you on Jones – this week is a litmus test for me. If he doesn’t come through with a good week, he’s probably off to the waivers for me. He went 0-6 with 5 Ks yesterday and 3 of them were looking. Three of the 5 were backward Ks. His 1st AB he literally never swung the bat. He had one other K where he took 3 called strikes (along with a couple fouls). The only ball he put in play was reasonably well hit but it was very bottom of the zone and not really what you want to be putting in play.

Blackmon has a career wOBA over 200 points higher at home than on the road and it’s more than that this year with a .936/.566 split. He actually had been really good for over a month prior to going on the IL. I’m just worried that the IL stint broke up whatever momentum he had going before. Two 0-4 since coming off didn’t help get me excited about picking him up. Went with Toglia instead but I do note that they have locked Blackmon into the #1 spot while Toglia seems stuck at 5 or 6 with little chance of breaking into the top 4 which has been some combination of Blackmon/Tovar/McMahon/Diaz with Doyle and Rodgers jumping up there periodically.