Jun 14, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder C. Blackmon (19) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies’ starting centerfielder didn’t begin 2015 like he did 2014, but he’s having just as solid — albeit a more quiet — season this summer.
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On a Colorado Rockies roster that pulls most of the media’s focus towards Nolan Arenado‘s future, or Troy Tulowitzki‘s trade potential, or Carlos Gonzalez‘s streaks, or the total and complete lack of pitching, Charlie Blackmon has almost been an afterthought in 2015.
Sure, he was the focal point in 2014 when he had that massive first month, then first half, and then made an All Star team — but when he faded down the stretch, I think many of us collectively said, cool, Charlie, first half aside, this will be the type of player you probably settle in to become.
The only problem is… no one told that (hypothetical) thing to Blackmon.
Through his first 89 games this year, Blackmon is slashing .290/.359/.467, and probably more impressively, he’s hit 15 doubles, 12 home runs, and stolen 24 bases (which is fourth in the big leagues behind three big-time speedsters).
This tweet is probably not inaccurate:
Pulling up the hot first half of 2014, Blackmon’s first 89 games this year are actually better in two of three slash line categories than what he did at this point last year (.294/.340/.461). Plus, he’s hit the same amount of home runs this season as 89 games into 2014, stolen eight more bases, and only hit one fewer double.
I know: homers, doubles, stolen bases, and the slash line don’t tell the entire story of a player, but come on — you can’t discount those stats when looking at Blackmon’s 2015 season. Oh, and one more for the skeptical: leadoff hitter Blackmon has already walked 29 times this season in his 89 games; in 154 games last year, he walked 31 times.
Some of these stats (well, specifically stolen bases) have to do with the Rockies’ changing some of their offensive strategies; Blackmon’s attempted 11 more steals in 2015 (31) than he had at this point in 2014 (20), so eight more stolen bases make sense. He’s benefitting from the Rockies’ more aggressive base running.
[Editor’s note: Blackmon aside, maybe aggressive base running isn’t the way to go for this club? My God, they get thrown out everywhere by everybody at all times — and Corey Dickerson‘s still on the DL!]
Anyways, look, I’ll be honest — I hadn’t realized how strong of a season Blackmon was having until I compared his game logs from the last two seasons.
Arenado is the future, and rightfully so — he’s a building block. Tulo is a superstar, and the current focal point (trade or keep?), and CarGo is the fascinating wild card who can get on hot streaks nobody in the league can match.
But then there’s little ol’ Charlie Blackmon, doin’ his thing in the leadoff spot and quietly giving the Rockies so much consistency, people who watch them all the time (me!) overlook his work.