Wednesday Rockpile: Charlie Blackmon is a beast, Franklin Morales makes his case for rotation slot

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Blackmon is having himself a fantastic start to 2014, while Franklin Morales was excellent last night for the Rockies. Plus, a hilarious swing by Elvis Andrus.

The Rockies begin the day a half game out of first in the NL West, looking for a sweep of the Giants. This could be a very good day!

Charlie Blackmon and Mike Trout in the Same Sentence | FanGraphs Baseball

Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs broke down Charlie Blackmon's phenomenal start to 2014 - especially his incredible contact ability improvement so far and reduction of his K rate. The crazy thing is that several Rockies have seen big improvements in their K rate so far - perhaps some of this can be attributed to new hitting coach Blake Doyle?

Blackmon swinging hot bat in leadoff role | Rockies.com: News

Speaking of Blackmon, Thomas Harding details the fantastic production the Rockies have received from Blackmon hitting in the leadoff position. I must admit that Blackmon's performance has exceeded Also included is a note on DJ LeMahieu's stellar hitting with RISP.

Rockies defeat Giants behind strong outing by Franklin Morales - The Denver Post

In other news, when Blackmon got the night off against a tough lefty, another lefty assumed  the beast mode position for the Rockies. Franklin Morales pitched a seven inning, one run, seven strikeout gem last night. He certainly didn't make Colorado's decision about what happens when Jhoulys Chacin comes of the DL next week any easier, but that's an excellent problem for the Rockies to have.

Tracy Ringolsby: Veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins is a closer, and a mentor, for the Rockies | Rockies.com: News

Ringolsby writes about Colorado's 41 year-old closer, who has been excellent thus far this season, and his odd role as seat-warmer for Rex Brothers. It sounds like the Rockies were very up front about this with LaTroy. Here's LaTroy's key to success:

"One thing I learned is if you are going to pitch late in the game, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Guys who are able to do that are successful."

Rockies' Rex Brothers comes through, justifies Weiss' faith in him

After struggling in his first few outings, Brothers has looked a lot more like himself of late, which is phenomenal news for Rockies fans. Last night's outing was so money.

An Early Look at wOBA Differential | FanGraphs Baseball

Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has a look at the split between each team's offensive weighted on base average (wOBA) and the wOBA they are allowing on defense. Because the Rockies collectively deciding to all tear the cover off of the ball in April (and due in part to their forgiving offensive environment), the Rockies lead the league in offensive wOBA at .353.

In other words, the team as a whole is hitting somewhere between "above average" and "great" on the wOBA continuum. As such, they're 4th in the league overall in wOBA differential. Obviously, if the Rockies can sustain this offensive level they'll be in a pretty good position going forward.

McMahon hits eighth home run with Class A | Rockies.com: News

Oh hey look, Ryan McMahon hit another homer last night. The home run was his eighth of the season, the second most in the Minor Leagues. I know Low A Asheville's a bandbox, but that doesn't mean I'm not getting excited about Colorado's farm system.

Links from around baseball

Appreciating Albert Pujols - Jayson Stark Blog - ESPN

As you may have heard, Albert Pujols hit his 500th homer last night. ESPN's Jayson Stark is appreciative - and you should be too. Pujols is amazing.

Elvis Andrus valiantly protects the hit-and-run, takes worst swing of the year - SBNation.com

The hit and run was on and Elvis Andrus did his job. Hilarity ensues. The gifs in the comments might be even better.

Finally, make sure to listen to Purple Row on the Press Box this morning, our first weekly radio segment!

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