Rockies Year in Review: Charlie Blackmon
The next installment in our 2015 player review series is Charlie Blackmon.
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I’ve been a Charlie fan from the beginning, so it gives me great pleasure to report that he was one of the Rockies’ most valuable players for the second year in a row this season. He amassed 2.4 WAR in 2015, better than everybody except for Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado. He batted .287 with 17 home runs and a .797 OPS. He had the second-most strikeouts on the team (112), but he also saw more plate appearances than anybody else, coming to the dish 682 times. Blackmon has been a workhorse, and he’s been doing it for just over half a million dollars.
Alas, that comes to an end this offseason, as Blackmon has accrued enough service time to be eligible for arbitration. MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Blackmon will receive $4.5 million, not an astronomical figure and not an unattainable one for the club, but enough that it’s time to think about where Blackmon fits into the long-term plan. If we are in a full-scale rebuild, Blackmon has to go sooner or later anyway. It will be interesting to see what kind of deal the Rockies make with him and how they go about moving him (I assume that they will).
But this post is about Blackmon’s 2015, so let’s talk about that a little more. He finished in the top 10 in the league in many categories, such as runs scored, hits, total bases, and triples. We could reliably count on Blackmon to come out and take good AB’s, provide solid defense, and keep the team in the game. One thing I like about Blackmon is that he knows he isn’t Cargo or Arenado. He doesn’t try to be them. It’s got to be tough knowing that you’re a big reason why your team wins but not quite as good as your team’s superstars. It takes humility and a desire to put your team first to motivate somebody like that every day. Blackmon never complains.
Another thing that makes him great is his consistent improvement. His batting value chart shows improvement in nearly every area year over year. We can count on Blackmon to put the work in that’s going to allow him to keep getting better.
Next: Rockies Year in Review: Brandon Barnes
Lastly, I want to draw attention to the way Blackmon uses the field as a hitter. He’s always hit well to all fields, but in 2015 we really saw him driving the ball every which way. If you compare his spray charts, you see that this past season, he hit the ball to the opposite field a lot, and deeper than he generally did in 2014. He even hit a couple of homers to straightaway center! Oh Charlie, how we will miss you.
Overall Grade: A