On Monday, the Colorado Rockies placed veteran right fielder Charlie Blackmon on the injured list with a calf strain. Even without the trusty Chuck Nazty patrolling the outfield, there easily could have been worse things that could have happened to the ball club.
The Charlie Blackmon injury takes his reliable .300, 10 homers and 31 RBI out of the leadoff spot of Colorado Rockies‘ everyday lineup. However, his absence creates ample opportunities for young outfielders David Dahl, Raimel Tapia, and his replacement, Yonathan Daza, to get more playing time.
All three got the start on Memorial Day and it didn’t take long for the youngsters to take advantage. David Dahl hit his fourth home run of the year to center field. Raimel Tapia hit the walk-off single that scored Ian Desmond from second base. Finally, rookie Yonathan Daza, collected his first MLB hit off perennial All-Star Zack Greinke.
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For Dahl and Tapia, the loss of Blackmon means more playing time. Before, they had been splitting time with Desmond based on starting pitching match ups. Now, with the addition of Daza who bats right-handed, they won’t have to split time especially when their is a right-handed starter on the mound.
The Blackmon injury also creates a huge opportunity for Yonathan Daza to showcase his skills. The Rockies’ 14th rated prospect (according to MLB.com) has put up some solid numbers early on this season in Triple-A Albuquerque after going 0-for-11 in an early Major League call-up in April.
While Blackmon is out, the 25-year-old Venezuelan will be on full display for not only the Rockies’ front office but also other potential suitors. Since the likelihood of remaining on the club when Blackmon returns is slim to none and the path to the Majors is blocked, Daza can show that he is Major League ready and could prove to be an important piece for the Rockies come the trade deadline.
Losing Charlie Blackmon was a blow to the Rockies’ lineup but it might be a blessing in disguise. It allows the Rockies to not only give David Dahl and Raimel Tapia more everyday playing time but also a chance to test their organizational depth with Yonathan Daza.