When the Colorado Rockies gathered for spring training they were not sure who would start in center field.
In the offseason the Rockies sent starting center fielder Dexter Fowler to the Houston Astros for pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes. Both players are considered average and Barnes was not going to be the starter.
Amid all the questions in center, Charlie Blackmon was given the first chance to claim the job. He now has a strangle hold on the position and has no intent to let it go.
Blackmon has been the team’s most productive and consistent hitter through the first 21 games of the season. The center fielder is batting an amazing .411 with four home runs and 13 RBI from the leadoff spot and his on-base percentage of .450 is pretty amazing as well. His average will drop as the season goes along but for right now he is hammering the baseball.
His average leads the National League as does his 30 hits on the season. He also had two home runs in Monday’s win over the San Francisco Giants.
The Rockies have always thought highly of Blackmon but numerous foot injuries had delayed his time in the big leagues. The injuries made Colorado consider other center fielders before giving Blackmon the job. Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson, who are both on the big-league roster as well, were given ample shot to win the job. Blackmon just beat them.
And it wasn’t that clear coming out of spring training but now Blackmon’s play leaves the Rockies no choice. He has to play everyday. Dickerson and Stubbs are fine as the team’s fourth and fifth outfielders.
Blackmon is also hitting on the road which most Rockies are not keen to doing. The center fielder has more home runs and RBI at Coors Field like most of the roster but he is hitting .313 away from Denver. One of the highest for regulars in the lineup.
Blackmon will cool off at some point but the Rockies need to win games while he is hitting this way. Center field looked to be a black hole for the Rockies at the start of the season but for now their worries can shift somewhere else.
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