Colorado Rockies: should Charlie Blackmon lead off in 2018?
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post had his mailbag for fans to ask questions to him recently and one of the questions the questions that he fielded was about Charlie Blackmon and his spot in the lineup.
Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon has played in 764 regular season games in his MLB career and 679 of those have been starts. Of those 679 starts, 596 of them have been in the lead off spot, or 87.7 percent.
However, with having 37 home runs and 104 RBI in 2017, there has been some rumblings that the Rockies could potentially move Blackmon into what is traditionally considered to be the power area of the lineup (spots three, four, and five). But, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, to answer a fan’s question about this, talked to Blackmon himself and asked him what he thought about moving down in the lineup. This is what he told Saunders:
"“We have not discussed it yet, but I’m sure it’s a possibility. It seems like it could be a good idea.”“I’m comfortable leading off, and it has been working. But it may not be the best lineup construction.”"
Saunders says that he personally thinks that the Rockies shouldn’t “mess with one of the best, most unique leadoff hitters in the game”.
However, even though Blackmon has only started three games in the majors in the number three slot and a combined zero starts at the fourth and fifth spot, let’s say that the Rockies do decide to give Blackmon a chance to hit in the middle of the lineup in spring training and they decide to stick with it for opening day. What would the Rockies lineup potentially look like?
Here’s potentially what it could look like (if the Rockies don’t make any further additions to the offense):
- DJ LeMahieu, 2B
- Gerardo Parra, RF
- Charlie Blackmon, CF
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Trevor Story, SS
- Ryan McMahon, 1B
- Ian Desmond, LF
- Chris Iannetta, C
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As Saunders noted, if the Rockies don’t get another bat (which it looks like the chances of that are dimming by the day, even though they really should, but that’s just me), the Rockies could potentially play around with the lineup a bit.
We could even see it if the Rockies employ some platoons, like with McMahon, Desmond, and Pat Valaika at first base or Raimel Tapia, Desmond, and David Dahl in left field. As Saunders also noted, if Tapia can be a bit more refined of a player, Rockies manager Bud Black could decide to play some musical chairs of sorts with the lineup and use some platoons.
But to me, the Rockies should, at least for now, keep Blackmon in the lead off spot. If they happen to get another experienced lead off hitter via free agency or trade, then I’d be a bit more open to moving Blackmon down in the lineup. On the other hand, if the Rockies got a middle of the order bat (which, believe it or not, they desperately need), Blackmon could stay in the lead off spot.
After all, if the Rockies offense wasn’t as pathetic as it was in 2017 (they had the fifth worst offense in all of baseball by OPS+, according to Baseball Reference), we probably wouldn’t be talking about this right now.
Next: For the Rockies, it may be harder to compete in the NL West
As of now, on RosterResource.com, they have Gerardo Parra hitting clean up for the Rockies. In nine MLB seasons, he has had double digit home run numbers three times. That should tell you enough right there.