BREAKOUT PLAYER / / TROY TULOWITZKI
Team / / Colorado Rockies
Position / / Shortstop
Comment / / Tulowitzki was taken with the seventh pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. By the end of August 2006, he was in the major leagues. And he might stay there for years. He's 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds and should be able to take advantage of the thin air at Coors Field. He's just 22, but the Rockies have cleared a space for him.
LAST SEASON / / 76-86 / / TIED FOR FOURTH PLACE
LINEUP 2006 STATISTICS
CF Willy Taveras .278, 83 runs, 33 SBs
2B Kaz Matsui .267, 3 HRs, 26 RBIs
3B Garrett Atkins .329, 29 HRs, 120 RBIs
1B Todd Helton .302, 15 HRs, 81 RBIs
LF Matt Holliday .326, 34 HRs, 114 RBIs
RF Brad Hawpe .293, 22 HRs, 84 RBIs
SS Troy Tulowitzki .240, 1 HR in 96 ABs
C Chris Iannetta .260, 2 HRs, 10 RBIs
RHP Aaron Cook 9-15, 4.23, 92 K's
LHP Jeff Francis 13-11, 4.16 ERA, 117K's
RHP Rodrigo Lopez 9-18, 5.90 ERA, 136 K's
RHP Jason Hirsh 3-4, 6.04 ERA, 29 K's
RHP Josh Fogg 11-9, 5.49, 93 K's
LHP Brian Fuentes 3-4, 3.44 ERA, 30 saves
RHP LaTroy Hawkins 3-2, 4.48 ERA, 0 saves
LHP Jeremy Affeldt 8-8, 6.20 ERA, 1 save
Manager / / Clint Hurdle, sixth season
Payroll / / $54 million
X-factor / / Is Willy Taveras the slap hitter who nearly got benched in the first half last year or the author of a 30-game hitting streak in the second half?
Best case / / Todd Helton, recovered from last year's intestinal illness, uses the offseason trade rumors as motivation for a strong comeback year. ... Jeff Francis steps into ace role and bids for 18-plus wins.
Worst case / / Kaz Matsui reminds everyone why he flamed out with the Mets. ... Chris Iannetta merely becomes the latest in a long line of failed Rockies catching projects.
CAPSULES FROM THE SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL