Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is not off to a hot start by any means. In 65 plate appearances, Blackmon is hitting .164/.292/.291 with a wRC+ of 52.
If you look back to 2020, since August 12 (the day that he entered the game hitting .500 on the season), Blackmon is hitting .202/.286/.317 with a wRC+ of 46. That’s in 59 games played, or one game shy of what the Rockies played in all of 2020.
If you check out Baseball Savant and check out Blackmon’s advanced stats for the 2021 season, you will currently see one blue mark, indicating that he is in the bottom ten percent of the league in wOBACON (weighted on-base average on balls pulled in play) but otherwise, they seem to indicate that by the batted balls he has had this year, he has been a victim of bad luck.
- .164 actual batting average, .260 expected batting average (xBA)
- .292 actual on-base percentage, .340 expected on-base percentage (xOBA)
- .291 actual slugging percentage, .406 expected slugging percentage (xSLG)
That .340 xOBA is still fourth on the Rockies, though. The guys higher than Blackmon? Chris Owings (on the injured list), Trevor Story, and C.J. Cron.
Those expected numbers indicate that Blackmon has been a victim of bad luck but they also indicate something else: his numbers are still way down.
From 2016 through 2020, Blackmon averaged .314/.374/.549 at the plate so the power is definitely down but the average and on-base percentage are still down to a lesser extent.
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Should the Rockies move Charlie Blackmon down in the lineup?
We asked Rockies manager Bud Black that question on Saturday and here’s what he had to say.
"“We’ve talked about that as a (coaching staff) but we’re not ready to do that, just yet” said Black on his pre-game Zoom conference call. “We’ll see in due time if this continues but we have thought about it.”"
If the Rockies bats stay as hot as they have in their three-game winning streak but Blackmon’s stays cold, somebody like Ryan McMahon, who has mainly been hitting second may slide down to the clean-up spot, and maybe somebody like Garrett Hampson will take over in the second spot.
Black has used Hampson in the second spot (and leadoff spot) before due to his speed but if he can get on base more, he will be a threat to opponents and therefore, likely higher in the lineup.
But, at least, as of now, that won’t be happening as Blackmon is slated to hit clean-up again on Saturday against the Phillies but with the Rockies lineup makeup, Bud Black has been known to switch it up a lot during his tenure as Rockies manager so don’t be surprised if it does happen soon.