Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon’s weird season so far
It’s been a strange first half of the season for the Colorado Rockies. At times, the pitching was dominant, but the offense didn’t show up. At other times, the offense was crushing the ball, but the pitching — particularly the bullpen — imploded.
We’re nearly halfway through the season and it seems the Rockies are still waiting for something to click. In the meantime, they sit three games below .500 at 34-37.
In a season full of incongruities, superstar center fielder Charlie Blackmon has been no exception. Blackmon got off to a torrid start, clubbing nine home runs in April. Though his batting average was lower than we are used to seeing from last year’s batting champ, his .961 OPS looked great.
Chuck Nazty struggled a little in May and saw almost all his offensive numbers drop off. One exception was his batting average on balls in play, which climbed significantly, even while his actual batting average for the month fell to .272.
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So far, through 15 games in June, Blackmon has posted his highest batting average of any month this season and his batting average on balls in play has taken another huge leap forward. While that looks like a step forward, June has also seen Blackmon’s lowest OPS all season.
The strangest anomaly for Blackmon has been his streaky power. After being among the league leaders in home runs early in the season, Blackmon has only hit one home run in his last 26 games. He’s hitting .304 with 10 RBI over that span.
June has seen Blackmon’s average rise to a season-high .295 at one point, only to fall again to .278, where it sits after yesterday’s walk-off loss to the Texas Rangers.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Blackmon has had a bad first half, just a really weird first half.
At this point, he’s accumulated 13 home runs and 33 RBI. Both are good numbers. Though the RBI total may be lower than we’re used to seeing from Charlie, that’s not entirely his fault. He’s spent most of the season hitting either first or second and the bottom of the Rockies lineup just hasn’t been getting on base to give him the opportunity to drive them in.
When there are runners in scoring position, Blackmon is hitting .333 with a .952 OPS.
So all this considered, what chance does Blackmon have to attend his third career All-Star Game? Currently, he sits in fourth place among NL outfielders in the fan vote, behind Nationals superstar Bryce Harper (.217, 19 home runs, 43 RBI) and two resurgent veterans: the Braves’ Nick Markakis (.327, eight home runs, 44 RBI), and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp (.338, 12 home runs, 43 RBI).
Those three have a growing lead over Blackmon in the voting, but if Blackmon catches fire and sees a surge in voting, he could still potentially catch Kemp. Even if he doesn’t get one of the top three spots, he could certainly be added as a reserve.
Blackmon’s chances of starting the All-Star Game are not nearly as solid as Nolan Arenado‘s, but they are also not as big of a long shot as DJ LeMahieu‘s or Trevor Story‘s–even though Story is probably the most deserving shortstop in the NL.
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Either way, one thing is for sure … the Rockies need Blackmon to get hot as soon as possible if they want to stay in contention for a playoff spot.