Keep eye on Rockies' Nicasio as a sleeper

Updated: March 26, 2012, 1:55 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

While I'm personally rooting for ageless left-hander Jamie Moyer to become a member of the Colorado Rockies' rotation this April, the fact is he doesn't have much fantasy relevance. Yes, Moyer did manage to concoct a 1.10 WHIP over 19 starts for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010, but it's tough to expect the same productivity in 2012. He is, after all, 49 years old. Instead, fantasy owners should be watching Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio. He's neither overcoming age nor elbow problems, but his story is similarly uplifting, and likely will be statistically important.

Nicasio sports a 3.06 ERA over four spring starts for the Rockies, and it appears he has locked up a rotation spot behind right-handers Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin. Nicasio isn't likely to challenge Roy Halladay or Clayton Kershaw for top NL pitcher honors, but last season, his big league ERA stood at 3.95 entering his 13th start, a Friday night game at Coors Field against the Washington Nationals. I can still remember just hoping Nicasio would live after taking an Ian Desmond line drive off his head in the second inning. Nicasio's skull and neck broke and he suffered bleeding in the brain. ESPN.com colleague Jerry Crasnick spoke to Nicasio and teammates about his remarkable comeback a month ago, but since then, the story has advanced.