Stop Starting Rockies’ Hitters on the Road

Yes, even C.J. Cron

Rockies’ hitters have been favorites of fantasy baseball players for 30 years, and 2022 is no different. How can we not love an 11th round C.J. Cron (based on March NFBC 12-team ADP) outproducing first round Vladimir Guerrero Jr., third round Matt Olson and fourth round Pete Alonso!? How about 20th round Charlie Blackmon being a top-15 outfielder as a 36 year old!? Unfortunately, as far as overall numbers go, and except for the deepest of leagues, those are the only two players that have been worthy of starting on a regular basis. And, as we take a deeper look, they should only be started at home as well – yes, even C.J. Cron.

 

C.J. Cron

 

Cron is having an amazing year – using year-to-date numbers in the Fangraphs auction calculator for a 12-team 5×5 league with two catchers, five outfielders, and a middle and a corner infielder his .298 BA with 21 HR, 69 RBI, and 55 R in 381 PA rank him as the third first baseman and 11th overall hitter so far this season. However, while we would expect that a majority of his production has come in games played at Coors Field in Colorado, it’s likely more than you think – 16 HR, 53 RBI, and 41 R with a .352 BA! He’s hit just .229 with 5 HR, 16 RBI, and 14 R in 40 road games. That’s a season-long-pace, 20 HR, 64 RBI first baseman in our lineups half of the time – or 2021 Carlos Santana.

 

Charlie Blackmon

 

Blackmon is a little better on the road but still not great – 6 HR, 23 RBI, and 13 R with a .238 BA in 38 G – so the 25ish HR and 90+ RBI season-long pace will play, but the just 50-55 runs would be brutal. As with Cron, his overall numbers of .277, 14 HR, 54 RBI, and 47 R are greatly bolstered by hitting .308 with 8 HR, 31 RBI, and 34 R at home.

 

Brendan Rodgers

 

Brendan Rodgers has played in 81 games this year hitting .260 with 9 HR, 47 RBI, and 41 R making him a decent middle infielder in the 12-team formats mentioned above. However, 9 HR, 39 RBI, and 31 R have come in 47 home games leaving his road numbers at a .228 BA with 0 HR, 8 RBI, and 10 R! We would never consider putting a player with that production in our lineups – but we have been.

 

Randal Grichuk and Ryan McMahon

 

How about Randal Grichuk? At home he’s hit .294 with 7 HR, 31 RBI, and 23 R while on the road he’s been abysmal – hitting .185 with 2 HR, 11 RBI, and 10 R. Ryan McMahon? He has 6 HR, 28 RBI, and 28 R with a .261 BA at home (an 18 HR, 84 RBI, 84 R full season pace), but away from Coors has hit just .226 with 1 HR, 13 RBI, and 9 R in 40 games. You get the point.

 

What can we do?

 

Fortunately, the 2022 MLB schedulers have been generous to us in recent weeks. After having a home and an away series in six of the first seven full weeks of the season, the Rockies have been entirely at home or entirely on the road for each Monday through Sunday scoring period since May 16 – meaning even in weekly lineup leagues we’ve been able to get the good and bench the bad for over two months. And the good news is this continues for the remainder of the season – for the most part.

There are 12 scoring periods remaining this fantasy season including a short week out of the break and another to end the season the first half of the week of October 3. Sandwiched in between we have 10 full weeks of fantasy baseball left this season. In eight of those 10, the Rockies are either at home or on the road the entire week (I’m counting the week of July 25 as all at home in spite of a single game at Milwaukee that Monday). We get four weeks of all home games, four of all away, and two split weeks.

So, in eight of 12 total scoring periods remaining all Colorado players other than Cron and Blackmon are unstartable, making them nearly unrosterable in leagues without large benches. I could start Cron and Blackmon in the split weeks and possibly in their August 1 eight-game road week with five at San Diego and three at Arizona. With that said, I’d attempt to trade them in leagues where that is an option as only 30 of Colorado’s 69 remaining games are at home.

We’ve always known this has been the case with Colorado players, but probably didn’t realize how extreme the splits have been this season. Take advantage of what the 2022 MLB schedule has given us.

 

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

Kevin Hasting

Kevin is a life-long KC Royals fan who resides with his amazing wife and daughter in Abilene, TX. He has been playing fantasy baseball for over 20 years, cohosts the On the Wire weekly FAAB podcast with Adam Howe on the PitcherList Podcast Network, and was the 2020 TGFBI overall champion.

2 responses to “Stop Starting Rockies’ Hitters on the Road”

  1. Scott Chu says:

    Great call-out! There’s so much more to the Coors effect than hitting well at home. It messes with a hitter’s ability to read pitch movement since the ball literally breaks and moves differently at altitude. It’s the same exact reason Nolan Arenado isn’t hitting like his “Road Rockies” version when he was part of that organization.

    • Kevin Hasting says:

      Thank you, Scott! Yes, it’s not about the typical ballpark factors we usually think of, it’s about that pitch movement.

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