Colorado Rockies: Will Charlie Blackmon be the primary leadoff batter?
By Aaron Hurt
The Major League Baseball offseason is officially over! That means we have five weeks of spring training baseball for teams (including the Colorado Rockies) to make difficult roster decisions and adjust lineups as they prepare for Opening Day on March 26.
While we already have a good idea as to who will be in the Colorado Rockies‘ starting lineup, the batting order is still a big question mark. More importantly, manager Bud Black will need to decide if Charlie Blackmon will remain the primary leadoff hitter in 2020.
Even though most of us expect Chuck Nazty to walk up first to the plate with fans singing along to “Your Love,” there is a chance that may not always be the case this season.
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
For those who don’t remember the last month of last season, with the Rockies clearly out of the playoff picture, Black toyed with the everyday lineup as he split time with Garrett Hampson and Trevor Story in the leadoff spot and moved Blackmon down in the order.
This was not a huge surprise as Blackmon has not been the quintessential leadoff hitter the last few seasons. Since becoming the Rockies’ primary leadoff man in 2014, his power numbers lead the Majors in home runs and runs batted in. He also set an MLB record for the most RBI by a leadoff hitter (102) in 2017. However, the 33-year-old has seen his stolen bases decrease as the daily wear and tear of playing in Coors Field and his age has taken a toll.
Regular days off to keep his legs fresh and a stop on the Injured List also played a role in the Rockies using six different players at that spot in 2019. Blackmon led the way with 108 games, while Story (23), Raimel Tapia (20), Hampson (7), David Dahl (3), and Yonathan Daza (1) also saw time at the top.
Talking about leading off with the media on Monday, Blackmon stated that he is “comfortable there,” and that it is “harder for someone else to transition into a leadoff role than it would be for me to transition out of it.”
In 2020, expect the carousel at leadoff to become more frequent. Blackmon played in only 140 games last season and that number will likely decrease further with even more regular days off. Chances are when Tapia or Hampson get a start, don’t be surprised if Blackmon is moved into the heart of the order. Also, in games where the Rockies will look to manufacture runs, moving the speed of Story or Dahl to the top of the order is likely.
The majority of Blackmon’s at-bats will come from the top of the order, but there will likely be a few other faces coming from that spot this season.