Saturday Rockpile: More on the Trending Charlie Blackmon, Plus Jim Leyland's Back in Denver

DENVER, CO - JUNE 15: Left fielder Charlie Blackmon #8 of the Colorado Rockies shakes hands with manager Jim Tracy of the Colorado Rockies after a game against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on June 15, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Blackmon went 3-4 on the day including a run and an RBI as the Rockies defeated the Padres 6-3. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Blackmon could eventually lead off | ColoradoRockies.com: News
Thomas Harding says Jim Tracy likes the idea of possibly easing Charlie Blackmon into the leadoff role. There are two things that immediately come to mind after reading this. First, I'd like to see how Blackmon handles pitchers during the initial adjustment period that he'll likely see sometime soon. It's unfair to say right now that Blackmon isn't capable of taking a walk, because he doesn't strike out either and has certainly been given his share of hittable pitches. In fact, part of me loves the fact that he isn't up there trying to prove a point by getting himself deep into counts all the time. However, guys are going to start throwing him pitches out of the zone eventually and trying to get him to chase. I'd like to see how he responds to that.

Secondly, where does this leave Dexter Fowler? With Seth Smith hitting well and Carlos Gonzalez set to make $13+ million per year on average, Fowler and Blackmon will have to do battle for that other spot. If Blackmon doesn't regress too far past the mean (and remains a trending topic on Twitter - for positive reasons, of course), it's hard to envision a place for Dex in the everyday lineup. Do the Rockies feel comfortable with him in a fourth outfielder role? Do they see him in a platoon situation? Or, would they hope his value skyrockets so that they can use him (or heck, one of the others not named CarGo, depending on who they like more) as a trade chip? Good stuff to keep an eye on as the season (and the offseason to follow) unfolds.

Wonders of youth: Nelson, Blackmon come up big for Rockies - The Denver Post
Perhaps further ignited by Andrew Martin's discussion of them in yesterday's Rockpile, Rockies rookies Charlie Blackmon Chris Nelson came through once again during last night's rout of the Tigers. Blackmon had yet another multi-hit game (this time going 4-for-4), while Nelson hit a screaming line drive over the left field wall for his first career home run, a three-run shot. Who knows what the future really holds, but at this point, with respective SSS-laced OPS' of .846 and .837, it's fair to say that sunglasses are required for viewing.

Let's just hope all of this positive attention doesn't jinx the guys...

Tigers manager Leyland back in Colorado for first time | Windsor Star
Jim Leyland recalls his lone season in Denver, citing how games were often "track meets" and how he did not feel comfortable managing games where double-digit scoring was often required to win. He was right; the 1999 Rockies, losers of 90 games in a season where they were expected to compete, allowed over 1,000 runs and posted a cumulative 6.01 ERA. Pedro Astacio really did not get enough credit for keeping his ERA just a touch above 5 while striking out almost a batter per inning.

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