40-Year-Old First Baseman – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Todd Helton in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Todd Helton Contract Information:
Agreed to a two-year, $9.9 million extension with the Rockies in March of 2010 that will run through the 2013 season.
Helton, playing the final game of his career Sunday, went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
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Todd Helton: MLB Games Played By Position
Todd Helton Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Todd Helton: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Todd Helton.
Recurring hip problems limited Helton to 69 games last season and had a noticeable effect on his performance, resulting in a career-low .238 batting average and a mere seven home runs. Upon recovering from the injury during the offseason, Helton developed a torn meniscus in his knee, requiring yet another surgery. Helton fully intends to play in 2013 if he responds to rehab well, but with Michael Cuddyer and Tyler Colvin both capable of playing first base and holding superior power bats, it is looking increasingly likely Helton's days as an everyday player are over. Helton enters the final season of his contract, and with the young Rockies thinking long-term, expect the 39-year-old to call it a career when the season concludes.
Now 38, the ongoing back trouble Helton has dealt with in the twilight of his career is showing no signs of improving, but he managed to play 124 games last season and continues to be a better than average defender at his position. His once elite plate discipline continues to erode, but Helton should parlay his 450-plus at-bats into another double-digit homer season as his isolated power seems to have leveled off over the last five seasons. You could do worse trolling the low-end options at first base, but the risk is certainly to the downside given his age and two-year battle with injuries.
Helton had a bounceback year in 2009, which led to hope that at 36 years old he might still have something left in tank for the 2010 season. Unfortunately, injuries (back) and age caught up with him as he posted career lows in batting average (.256), on-base percentage (.362), and slugging percentage (.367). Perhaps most alarming was his jump in strikeout rate (22.6 percent), considering the excellent plate discipline that he showed throughout his career. At 37, it's tough to imagine Helton staying on the field enough to remain a fantasy asset.
In 2008, a bad back took away Helton's remaining power and effectively ended his season in early July. A microdiscectomy was successful enough to have him back on the field for spring training, and allow him to play in more games (151) than anyone expected. He even regained a piece of his power by hitting 15 homers and posting a .489 slugging percentage. He'll turn 37 in August, but as far as low-end options at first base go, you could certainly do worse than Helton even at this stage of his career. Just know that he doesn't come without a fair amount of risk.
A bad back took away Helton's remaining power and effectively ended his season in early July. September surgery-- a microdiscectomy --is expected to have him back on the field by spring training. At this point, Helton can only be expected to hit for average, and definitely not the .330 we once expected, with something less than full-time play.
The Todd Helton of old looks to be gone for good. While his eye at the plate was as good as ever (116:74 BB:K) in 2007, his power appears to be confined to the 15-to-20-homer range. Helton takes a lot of walks and puts the ball in play, but don't expect 30-40 bombs at this stage of his career. He'll likely bat fourth, with plenty of RBI opportunities in the Rockies' potent lineup, so you could still do much worse.
Clearly on the decline, Helton will no longer be hitting 49 homers. Last year, he even struggled to finish above .300. Helton still has the skills to be a .300+ hitter with a solid OBP, but he appears to have turned into a gap-hitting Mark Grace type. Helton was sidelined early in the year by intestinal problems, but that still doesn't fully explain the five home runs after the All-Star break. Perhaps an offseason of rest will do him some good, but you probably shouldn't expect improvement this year, especially with manager Clint Hurdle reportedly planning to rest Helton more than in past years.
Helton had two firsts in 2005, a prolonged slump and a stint on the disabled list (for a strained calf). He started the season batting .259 over 49 games before regaining his stroke and hitting .352 the rest of the way. This year, he'll have more help in the lineup as Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins mature, and should improve upon career lows in home runs and RBI.
Helton is a fantasy god. He has hit over .315 for seven straight years, consistently surpasses 30 HR and 100 RBI, and has never missed more than ten games in a season. At 31, he's in the prime of a magnificent career that shows no signs of slowing down. If there is any concern about Helton, it's that his supporting cast this year will be weaker than ever before. He'll have little protection in the lineup aside from Preston Wilson.
Without a doubt, Helton is a monster masher. He's averaged 35 homers, 121 RBI and hit to the tune of .339 in six full seasons in the majors. Throw in 100+ runs, nearly 90 walks a season and a couple of gold gloves and it's clear who the best player in the NL West is, non-Bonds division. Helton has battled back problems the last few season, but despite the nagging pain, he still managed to suit up for an average of nearly 160 games a year over that six-year span. The Rockies cannot succeed without his bat in the lineup, and it appears that only his back can keep him from producing another monster year for the Rockies in '04.
Helton's numbers dipped last season due to a nagging back injury that was difficult to diagnose and equally difficult to cure. Helton also had elbow surgery in October. The back problems were finally diagnosed in late January as the result of bone spurs, and he had a cortisone shot to relieve the pain. He has ruled out having surgery to ever remove the bone spurs. Since the shot he has received extensive physical therapy, and so far he's had no setbacks. This has the potential to be a touch-and-go situation all year.