Everyone knows Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon. Whether for his skills at the plate, his rangy plays in the vast Coors Field outfield or his epic beard. The man electrifies the Colorado crowd and makes Rockies baseball fun to watch, regardless of how the team is performing in the standings.
It just so happens that Blackmon is having a career season in 2017, but few are talking about it. This is a man who could be a serious MVP candidate but finds himself in the shadows of Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and even teammate Nolan Arenado.
With the regular season entering its home stretch and the Rockies occupying the second NL Wild Card spot, Blackmon deserves a shot at the NL MVP trophy as much as the front-runners.
A look at Blackmon’s more basic offensive stats makes a strong case by itself. His .330 batting average is second in the NL behind Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, and he also has 25 home runs with 71 RBI. With it now being early August, he is in a position to shatter last year’s career high of 82 runs batted in.
Blackmon also leads the NL with 143 total hits. His OBP is only .384, but he makes up for it with an impressive .990 OPS.
A deeper look
The best part about Blackmon’s season is that his numbers aren’t really that inflated from playing in hitter-friendly Coors Field. Yes, he is batting an eye-popping .400 at home this year but is also hitting a respectable .273 on the road. The only department in which his home stadium makes much of a difference is power, with Blackmon having 17 home runs at Coors compared to just eight on the road.
But that’s not all. Though he does have a remarkable BABIP of .370, his career mark in that area is .336. He is just that good of a contact hitter.
Blackmon’s isolated power is respectable at .276 this season and here is where the outlier may be. Isolated power measures a hitter’s raw power and is an indicator of how often they may hit for extra bases. Blackmon’s career mark for isolated power is an unimpressive .187. He has been doing a better job with extra-base hits recently, but he is primarily a singles hitter who also has developed decent power.
But that still doesn’t take away from the fact that for the 2017 season, Blackmon has quietly put himself into the NL MVP conversation. He has hit well for average, will probably set new career highs in both home runs and RBI, and he is also having a solid year in the field.
Throw what could be his first Gold Glove on top of what could be a 3.5-4 WAR season, and the only thing Blackmon hasn’t done this year is steal bases. He has just nine steals on the year after posting 88 over the last three years combined.
Blackmon a surefire MVP candidate who should be gathering more attention in his second All-Star season and the fact that he hasn’t been discussed as such is a terrible shame.
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