clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Monday Rockpile: Blackmon's breakout and Dickerson's unstoppable bat are both for real

New, comments

The Rockies are 15-8 since they lost Michael Cuddyer to a hamstring injury. Today, we're going to delve into two of the reasons why.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Three big notes in this link from Patrick Saunders.

1) Jorge De La Rosa's next start has been pushed to Friday after he experienced back spasms in his outing against the Rangers. With the double off days surrounding the upcoming Kansas City series, the Rockies can shuffle their rotation without anyone having to throw a pitch on short rest.

The news is still a bit concerning however for a pitcher who's only exceeded 130 innings in a season twice in his career. Before Opening Day, we talked about the importance of the Rockies' top four starters staying healthy. So far, they've already had to put Chatwood on the DL twice, go without Jhoulys Chacin for the first month, and work around Brett Anderson's broken finger which has him on the shelf for at least two months.

With all of these injuries, it's even more amazing the Rockies are six games over .500 as they reach the quarter post of the season.

2) Michael Cuddyer might head to extended spring training at the end of this week as he tries to recover from a hamstring injury that's now kept him out for 24 days and counting. If this drags on much longer, he could have a quarter of his season wiped out for an injury that at first didn't even look like it would land him on the DL.

3) Charlie Blackmon has a very significant quote buried in the bottom of the article talking about the adjustments he's made to his swing which allows him to keep the bat in the zone longer. It's a big deal because it supports the mounting evidence we've seen in the batter's box which suggest this is not just some hot streak, but a legitimate breakout season for Blackmon.

While he may not be THIS good, I think you now can make a very strong case that he's going to be a better player than Dexter Fowler from this point forward in his career. We already know he's a better defender than Dex, but this season Blackmon's added power to his bag of tools which is a total game changer. Entering 2014, Blackmon had just nine home runs in 151 career games. After yesterday's jack, Blackmon now has nine long balls in just 38 games this season.

More significantly, he's done this while dropping his strike out rate from a career 15.4% entering the season to 8.9% so far this year. In addition, his walk rate, while still unimpressive, has climbed from a minuscule 2.9% career number entering the season to a more respectable 4.4% in 2014.

Add it all up and these are not the numbers of some flash in the pan. These are the numbers of a guy who just figured out how to be a solidly above average major league (and possibly All Star level) outfielder.

In case you're wondering, the Rockies have him under team control through the 2018 season.

* * * * *

This link from the Coloradoan is actually from Saturday night, but it has some nice quotes following Dickerson's huge game in the middle of the Cincinnati series.

It's also part of a larger point the I want to drive home today. Not only is Blackmon's breakout real, but we're just about at a point where we can start comfortably saying that Corey Dickerson's not going to turn into a pumpkin.

For the last four years, we've watch his rapid rise through the system just waiting for some level of pitching to knock him on his rear end and temper our expectations, and it just hasn't happened. Take a look at his career numbers at each level so far.

Rookie Ball (308 plate appearance): .348 / .412 / .634 (1.046 OPS)

Low-A Asheville (435 plate appearances): .282 / .356. / .629 (.986 OPS)

High-A Modesto (270 plate appearances): .338 / .396 / .583 (.980 OPS)

Double-A Tulsa (289 plate appearances): .274 / .323 / .504 (.827 OPS)

Triple-A Colorado Springs (359 plate appearances): .372 / .415 / .631 (1.046 OPS)

MLB (274 plate appearance over two seasons): .288 / .333 /. 516 (.849 OPS)

That's a hitter! Everywhere he goes he produces and produces big. At first it was reasonable to think he was old for his level in the low minors, or that the outstanding hitting environments of Asheville and Modesto were fueling his numbers, or that he was going to hit a wall at some point as he worked his way up the ladder, but now he's got a few hundred plate appearances at the major league level and it still hasn't happened.

Dickerson shows no signs of slowing down, and it's now probably fair to say that this is a guy (wasn't selected until the eighth round of the 2010 draft as a 21-year-old) everybody just missed. The dude can flat out swing a stick.

Other Links

Thomas Harding writes how Wilin Rosario credits his mother for his baseball foundation.

Brandon Barnes raised awareness for breast cancer yesterday.

Charlie Blackmon alone is making Colorado fans forger about Dexter Fowler, but Juan Pablo Zubillaga from Rockies Zingers argues that Jordan Lyles is putting together a performance that by itself could win this trade for Dan O'Dowd and company.

David Schoenfield discusses five key issues from around MLB at the quarter point of the season: One of which is about the Rockies.