Rookie Report (Apr. 6)
Third baseman Jeff Baker: Rated the No. 6 prospect in the Rockies' system by Baseball America this spring, Baker joined in the rookie hit parade in the big-league team's Opening Day comeback against San Diego. With projected starter and fellow rookie Garrett Atkins on the disabled list, Baker stepped up with a 2-for-5 performance against veteran Woody Williams, likely earning himself a fair share of playing time while Atkins is out. Baker is an excellent hitter with good power potential, making him well worth an NL-only pickup, but wrist injuries had stalled his development earlier in his professional career. He's a bit of a long-term risk, especially as a third baseman, and it's likely he's headed back to the minors once Atkins returns in a few weeks. The Rockies want to shift him to the outfield, so be prepared to have him only as a short-term fill-in.
Shortstop Clint Barmes: They say you learn something new every day, and if the two things fantasy owners pick up today is that this rookie's name is pronounced BAR-mess and that he's a legitimate rookie of the year contender, then we've done well imparting the knowledge. The man responsible for the walk-off, game-winning homer against one of the game's all-time great closers, Trevor Hoffman, is coming off a breakout year in Triple-A Colorado Springs (.328 average, 16 homers, 20 stolen bases) and a strong spring (.333 average, 12 RBI in 22 games). Barmes doesn't possess great raw talent, but he's one of those gritty performers who makes consistent contact and does the little things well. Those types have made a pretty good fantasy living in the past -- just ask the Cardinals' David Eckstein, the Astros' Adam Everett or the Nationals' Cristian Guzman. With Coors Field helping his offensive numbers, Barmes could top each of them in homers and RBI, perhaps putting him atop the lackluster competition for this year's rookie of the year award.
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