Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon has been one of baseball’s top center fielders over the past three seasons, but a position change could be in store in 2019.
In 2017, the Colorado Rockies All-Star was widely regarded as the sport’s second-best center fielder to Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. This was mostly due to his offense but he was also a better defender than metrics give him credit for.
That being said, injuries and age have cut down his speed (I don’t think anyone projects him to ever steal 43 bases in a season again). Blackmon’s still fast, and he’s a capable defender, but the Rockies could do better defensively in center field. This article discusses some of the defensive difficulties Blackmon had last season.
In a recent conference call with reporters, Bridich acknowledged the possibility that Blackmon could shift to a corner outfield spot.
"“With Charlie, I would say it’s possible,” Bridich replied when asked if Chuck Nazty could shift to a corner in 2019."
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Throughout the conversation, Bridich stressed keeping his options open. He mentioned the versatility of young players likely to make an impact in 2019 such as Garrett Hampson, Ryan McMahon, and David Dahl.
"“It helps us in terms of the skill sets that those guys have,” Bridich said."
If Blackmon does move to a corner, Dahl would be the most natural fit in center, though he could also play a corner if the Rockies add a center fielder this offseason or let Raimel Tapia or even Hampson play center (though it’s more likely Tapia would play a corner and Dahl would take care of center).
The situation gets even more complicated when we take into account Bridich’s comments suggesting he’s open to moving Ian Desmond to the outfield. If Desmond goes to the outfield, then it is probably a safe bet that we’ll see him and Blackmon on the corners with Dahl in the middle.
Whatever the Rockies decide to do with Blackmon and Desmond, it looks like 2019 will be interesting in the outfield.