Charlie Blackmon And His Ridiculous Start To 2014

by Brendan Panikkar | Posted on Saturday, May 17th, 2014
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Chicago White Sox v Colorado Rockies

We all know that Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has had an amazing start to 2014. Only recently has his average dropped below .400. But what about the Rockie everyone is now starting to talk about. Charlie Blackmon has burst on to the scene in Colorado and the Rockies are reaping the benefits with a 23-19 record, good for 2nd place in the NL West.

Blackmon has surfaced in large part due to Michael Cuddyer being on the 15 Day DL, but when Cuddyer is back, if Blackmon keeps up this torrid pace, Drew Stubbs likely gets relegated to the 4th outfielder role on the Rockies bench.

So far through 2014, Blackmon has 166 plate appearances, hitting nine home runs, 29 RBI, eight stolen bases, and a .333 batting average.

Dig a little further and you see that Blackmon’s isolated power (ISO) is a nice .248. To put that into perspective, the highest ISO he has ever had was .187, back in AA in 2010. He hit 11 homers that year in 381 plate appearances, so Blackmon is on pace to shatter that career high.

Blackmon also sports an OBP of .366. That number is extremely disapointing for a guy who is batting .333. That is attributed to the fact that Blackmon only walks 4.2% of the time. I would find it highly unlikely he keeps up this pace he is on when he barely walks. As soon as his batting average drops, so will his OBP.

One thing Blackmon doesn’t do is strikeout. He has struck out only 9% of the time so far in 2014, so he is putting the ball in play, one reason he has such a high BABIP at .321.

The one stat that Blackmon is really making hay with is wRC+. So far, he has created 48% more runs that the standard 100. Chicago White Sox phenom, Jose Abreu has created 49% more runs, only 1% more than Blackmon thus far.

Blackmon’s power surge is in large part due to his HR/FB% at 17.3%. He has never had a HR/FB% above 10% before. The hitter friendly Coors Field is one reason fly balls tend to carry for home runs, due to the thin Denver air.

It is quite clear to see Blackmon is having a successful season to this point. He is one reason for the Rockies surge to second place and a respectable 23-19 record thus far. But can Blackmon keep this great season up? I would have to say no.

His OPS is currently .948. I would suspect that his OBP is going to come down, as explained earlier due to the lack of walks. Blackmon has also never had a power season, at any stage of his career. His slugging percentage of .582 I would also expect to level out and come down as the season goes along, much like his batting average and OBP.

Perhaps Blackmon is taking advantage of hitting fly balls at a higher percentage than ever before in his career that would only carry for home run in Denver. He is also getting a higher dosage of fastballs that he is turning on and hitting fly balls and line-drives.

I would expect Blackmon to have a career year, in fact, he already has. But I would not expect him to keep up this torrid pace. Queue Carlos Gonzalez to heat up.

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Brendan Panikkar
About the Author

Brendan Panikkar is a graduate of Brock University's Sport Management program. Currently, he is the Vice-President, Customer Service at North Aware. He loves all sports but baseball and football take precedent over hockey and basketball. Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Raptors

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