Outfielder Charlie Blackmon has been nothing short of a revelation for the Colorado Rockies in the early part of the 2014 season. The 27-year old is providing substantial production at the top of the Rockies’ order, and has given little indication that he intends on stopping anytime soon.
The Rockies are currently sitting at 23-17 after a 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon. A number of factors have contributed to this surprising start, but the performance of Blackmon has to be right at the top of the list.
The outfielder and lead-off man blasted his ninth homer of the season off Homer Bailey in the loss to the Reds. In addition, Blackmon is currently batting a healthy .352 to go along with 29 RBIs. If not for the numbers posted by red-hot teammate Troy Tulowitzki, Blackmon would be leading the Rockies in all three of these offensive categories.
While Blackmon did establish himself somewhat in the latter part of 2013, the torrid pace he is currently setting could not have been predicted by anyone. Blackmon set the tone for the season in the Rockies home opener with a 6-for-6 performance that featured a homer and three doubles. This monstrous day also included four runs scored and five RBIs as the Rockies destroyed the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It is natural to assume that a player such as Blackmon could not possibly sustain such a pace, and many observers predicted a significant drop in production after his initial surge. However, the season is now well into May, and Blackmon is still getting it done at the top of a potent Rockies lineup. He also provides solid defense and flexibility in the outfield, having displayed the ability to play all three outfield positions effectively.
Blackmon is fast-approaching his career-high of 246 at-bats, which was set last year, so there will likely be some drop off in production as the season progresses. However, Blackmon has already proven he can handle playing on a regular basis, and should continue to provide the Rockies with an offensive catalyst at the top of the order, in addition to stellar defense in the outfield.