The future of the Rockies largely resides beyond 2019. Given their freefall in the standings, finding bright spots has been difficult.
Outfielder Charlie Blackmon’s status was in limbo to start the season after he appeared to regress in 2018.
Although Colorado will likely miss out on a return to the postseason, there is still a strong hope that the team’s core players can help right the ship next season and beyond. Blackmon, leading the charge, has been one of those seldom bright spots.
“Chuck Nazty” hit .291 and drove home 70 runs for the Rockies last season while also earning an All-Star nod.
The numbers are solid at a glance; however, they are a steep decline from Blackmon’s performance in 2017 when he hit an astonishing .331 to pair with 104 RBIs – a record from the leadoff spot.
Blackmon’s performance in 2017 earned him a lucrative six-year, $108 million contract extension from the Rockies. The deal was questioned by pundits due to the length and money tied up to a player who was, theoretically, at the end of his prime entering his age-31 season.
The Rockies opted to shift Blackmon from center to right field and even mulled over the idea of dropping him from the leadoff spot. Blackmon was moved around the lineup throughout spring training but was hitting first when Opening Day rolled around.
The decision to keep Blackmon atop the lineup was a wise one. The 2019 season has been a bounce-back season for Blackmon who has been one of the best hitters in baseball.
Blackmon is hitting .326 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs so far in 2019. His batting average is the fourth-highest in the National League. He also ranks within the top-10 in runs and doubles.
His overall output has warranted the $18 million the Rockies are paying him this season. Unfortunately, his production comes in a year where the club has been unable to establish consistency on the diamond.
Blackmon has been especially hot as of late, hitting .403 (27-for-67) in his last 17 games.
The four-time All-Star also leads the sport with four-or-more hit games (five) and is has hit .402 with runners in scoring position.
The San Diego Padres have been a team Blackmon has always had success against, and that trend has continued on the Rockies’ latest road trip.
Blackmon collected his eighth home run of the season versus San Diego at the start of the current series between the two. The eight home runs are the second-most against the Padres in a single season in club history.
Additionally, the outfielder is one of six players in franchise history to hit at least eight home runs against a single opponent in a one season.
The dominance isn’t just home runs as Blackmon has collected 13 total extra-base hits against San Diego this season, which is tied for the third-most in a season in club history.
Overall, Blackmon owns a career .481 batting average against the NL-West rivals.
This year has been a lost season for the Rockies, but the resurgence of Blackmon makes the future outlook of the club a little brighter. Should he continue to perform at a high level, the Rockies’ lineup should be lethal once again in 2020.