Colorado Rockies: Why Charlie Blackmon should not hit leadoff
The argument of moving Blackmon to a more conventional RBI spot gains more traction when considering the up-and-coming talent of outfield prospect Raimel Tapia.
Tapia has been ranked as one of the fastest players in baseball, drawing comparisons to Billy Hamilton.
Tapia has also put up impressive offensive numbers throughout his minor league career as well as during his brief major league stints.
Though he is unexperienced, he has demonstrated the ability to be a havoc on the base paths and profiles as a great spark-plug at the top of a major league lineup. Between his speed and his personality, he brings an indispensable energy to a Rockies team that could definitely use that kind of spark.
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His defense is not quite ready for him to patrol the expansive Coors Field center field, but Blackmon has that spot nailed down. As he gains confidence defensively, Tapia fits in nicely in left field.
Sure, there will be growing pains if the Rockies decide to hit Tapia leadoff.
But are those growing pains any worse than spending another season filling the cleanup spot with a rotating door of lackluster production?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone behind Arenado who could be consistently counted on to keep a rally going?
Now, I understand the reasons for keeping Blackmon where is. Why mess with a good thing? What’s wrong with starting off the game with a home run? Who knows if Tapia can sustain his success over an entire season?
I also understand that hitting Blackmon leadoff guarantees he gets the most at-bats possible per game and that is obviously a good thing.
Likewise, I know that there will inevitably be at least one game where a pinch-hitter gets on base with two outs in the ninth and the leadoff man comes to the plate and it’s … Tapia. When this happens, Rockies fans will regret the fact that Blackmon ever moved in the order.
At the same time, it is just as likely that Arenado ropes a two-out double in the ninth that brings the Rockies within one run. The fans at Coors Field erupt. The four-hole hitter is announced. Is it Trevor Story? Ian Desmond? Gerardo Para?
How about Chuck Nazty?
Again, I am not totally against hitting Blackmon first, and if General Manager Jeff Bridich adds a power-hitting outfielder or first baseman this offseason, then the leadoff spot might remain a perfect fit for Blackmon.
But if the Rockies are unable to land a big slugger, I feel more comfortable with Tapia hitting first and Blackmon hitting behind Arenado than I do with Blackmon hitting first and anyone else on the current roster hitting fourth.
The Rockies have limited resources and they need to use those resources as responsibly as possible.
That’s why when addressing their lineup problem they should look at all the options.
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They might just discover they already have the pieces to fix it.