Colorado Rockies: The Five Best Players of the 2016 Season
No. 3: Charlie Blackmon
There is little doubt Blackmon became one of the best leadoff hitters in ALL of baseball in 2016. He became damaging to the opposition. In 143 games, he hit .324, with 29 HRs, 35 doubles, 82 RBIs, a slugging percentage of .552 and 17 stolen bases (first on the team).
We at Rox Pile had a recent Colorado Rockies Roundtable discussion about who the MVP was for 2016. Nolan Lees made some very good points about why Blackmon is the team’s MVP for 2016. His road production was much improved this year:
"Then 2016 rolled around, and all of a sudden, Blackmon is mashing the ball no matter where he’s playing. He has a .313 batting average in road games this season, just a shade below his .324 overall batting average. In fact, by some metrics, Blackmon has actually played better away from home. He has a higher slugging percentage and 17 of his 29 total home runs in road games this season. It’s hard to overstate what a dramatic shift that is. It’s not that Blackmon was a bad player before 2016, but his value was always limited by his meager production on the road. But now, it appears the sky is the limit for the 30-year-old. Blackmon has always had nearly identical numbers against left- and right-handed pitching, so if 2016 is a sign of things to come, the Rockies have themselves one of the most complete, “match-up proof” players in MLB."
Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post noted that he became just the fifth player in major-league history to hit 10 leadoff home runs in a season.
Blackmon has never been known as a center field defensive genius, but he had an outstanding season in the field this season with just three errors and a .990 fielding percentage.
Additionally, throwing in the fact he is on a $3,500,000 contract (though he is arbitration-eligible, and is likely to get a nice pay raise), he is still a relative bargain based on his 2016 production.
2017 may be the year for the opposition to start “fearing the beard”.
Next: No. 2: DJ LeMahieu