Friday Rockpile: Who takes over right field in 2014?

Thearon W. Henderson

Should the Rockies stay in house or explore the FA market?

On paper, the Rockies actually don't really have a whole lot of holes to fill in the lineup next year (assuming health, which is sort of like assuming everyone stays safe in a slasher movie, but bear with me). Catcher (Wilin Rosario), third base (Nolan Arenado), short stop (Tulo), left field (Cargo), and center field (Dex) are basically locks with solid players. Second base could use an upgrade, but DJ LeMahieu won't kill you.

That leaves right field and first base, where Todd Helton is finally vacating his starting spot as he calls it a career. Michael Cuddyer will lock down one of these spots, and it makes the most sense to stick him at first. According to both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference, he's been a statue out in right, while being average at first.

So who mans right field? With Cargo and Dexter Fowler dealing with injuries lately, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson have been getting basically everyday playing time. With those everyday reps, both guys are looking more and more capable.

Blackmon is coming off a four hit day, bumping his triple slash line (average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage) to .299/.323/.450. By the eyes and by the numbers he's a very capable right fielder (he's been pressed into duty in center field with the Dex injury, and that's dragging down his overall fielding numbers, but he plays well in the corners). So now he's sitting at a pretty groovy .773 OPS and a 99 wRC+. Also, he runs the bases very well.

Dickerson is also making an impression. After smacking two triples and a single yesterday, he sits at .289/.339/.486, good for a 112 wRC+ (in other words, 12 percent above average, and that factors in the Coors boost). He doesn't seem to be much with the glove, but we haven't really seen him out there enough to make any conclusive judgments. But his hit tool looks very advanced for a young player.

However, it's fair to wonder if they have much projection beyond their current skill level. Neither man walks very much, leaving them susceptible to the vagaries of balls in play. Neither has big time home run power (though Dickerson has the makings of a doubles machine). And, crucially, both struggle against lefties.

So would it be a good idea to look outside the organization, either for a starter or a platoon partner? Well, the Free Agent pickings aren't exactly inspiring. Jacoby Ellsbury is outside the Rockies' price range. Shin Soo Choo kills righties, but is also exposed against lefties (and will probably be too expensive as well). Carlos Beltran might be enticing, but he's going to be 37 next year. Hunter Pence? Nelson Cruz? Marlon Byrd?

Honestly, it's a tough question. It's either shell out $80 million for Pence or Ellsbury (which ain't gonna happen), or take a guy with serious question marks who might not be better than Blackmon or Dickerson.

Or we could just cut the crap and trade for Giancarlo Stanton. Yeah.

LINKS

Todd Helton's old college buddy Peyton Manning will be in attendance Wednesday at Coors Field for Helton's last game at Coors Field. It's a nice gesture for a guy who's probably pretty busy. That game is bound to be emotional.

Speaking of Helton: Haw haw.

The Dodgers won the NL West last night. Lame.

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