Anyone who's been to a game at Coors Field knows it doesn't take much to get baseballs to carry out of that park. Sneeze at the plate and it will be a home run. It's often difficult to gauge how good a Rockies hitter can be at the plate when Coors Field is often giving them the benefit of some inflated numbers. That is, unless you're Charlie Blackmon.
The road show
In the ten games the Rockies have played on the road thus far, Blackmon is batting .366. Even more impressive is his .951 SLG and his OPS of 1.360. It should come as no surprise, however. He's coming off a weekend where he absolutely destroyed the Washington Nationals' aces, homering off of both Stephen Strasburg and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. All seven of Blackmon's homers this year have come on the road. He's also managed to hit one in each of these last three games.
He was quoted by Todd Karpovich from MLB.com saying:
"I think home runs are the best way to score runs,... "It's not indicative of sustainable success maybe. So, I would like to see some more good at-bats, singles, doubles, walks, that kind of thing. But I'll take a homer any day."
If he's showing this kind of power on the road, in April, he could be on pace to make Giancarlo Stanton's home run numbers from last season look like a joke. As it stands right now, Blackmon is on pace to finish the year with 87 home runs. His FB% is at 39.4% and his Pull% is at 51.5% all while making medium or hard contact with these pitches about 42.4% of the time. Blackmon's current wRC+ in just those road games is at 265. That's more than he was able to put up over his last six full seasons each year.
How does he compare?
When you think of great Rockies hitters, you think of the likes of Todd Helton and Larry Walker. As it stands, Blackmon has even topped Helton's road OPS through the months of March/April during Helton's 2006 season, in which he posted an away OPS of 1.152 with a .347 road batting average. While we're still working our way through the rest of the month, it's likely that if he remains hot, that final number will remain higher than Helton's. Blackmon also beats out Larry Walker's road OPS (.969) through that first month of his 2003 season.
And as for recent Rockies sluggers that come to mind, Nolan Arenado doesn't come close to what Blackmon's been doing. He's only hitting .219 during these away games and putting up an OPS of .788. That OPS that would be totally serviceable if Blackmon wasn't blowing everyone out of the water right now. DJ LeMahieu comes a little closer with his average at .295 and is putting up an equally impressive road OPS of 1.120.
Ready for the crazy part? Blackmon has just one hit in ten at-bats at home this season. That means it's only a matter of time before he breaks out of his slump at home and picks up where he left off last year, when he batted an eye-popping .391 with a 1.239 OPS in his home stadium.
That said, if everything stays its course for Blackmon, it's going to be open season at Coors Field when the Chicago Cubs come to town on Friday night.
Will Charlie Blackmon's road successes be matched at home? Let us know what you think in the comments!