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Bill Schmidt’s Blake Street Bombers

Colorado Rockies news and links for Sunday, April 3, 2022

A common theme for the Rockies heading into the 2022 season was the search for more power. Over the past couple of seasons, we have seen their power numbers decrease, despite the stereotypical conception that the Rockies will always hit home runs and put up big numbers.

In his search for power, Bill Schmidt has added Randal Grichuk and Kris Bryant to his outfield with the hope that both will add some offensive spark lacking for the club and complement his current sluggers C.J Cron, Ryan McMahon, and even Charlie Blackmon. In a way, it looks like Schmidt is trying to harken back to the early days of the Rockies and build his own version of the Blake Street Bombers.

Kris Bryant

The big free-agent addition, Kris Bryant is something akin to Larry Walker for these new Bombers. He isn’t likely to reach the levels of production of Walker in his Colorado heyday, but he brings the high-end potential to become a new leader in the clubhouse and on the field as Walker did. A look at both players' stats prior to joining the Rockies shows some interesting similarities in their production and results.

Bryant and Walker Prior to Rockies

Name From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Name From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Kris Bryant 2015 2021 23-29 884 3287 592 914 204 19 167 487 443 908 0.278 0.376 0.504 132
Larry Walker 1989 1994 22-27 674 2366 368 666 147 16 99 384 264 474 0.282 0.357 0.483 128
A comparison of Kris Bryant and Larry Walker’s careers prior to joining the Rockies. Stathead Baseball

Bryant has one more season than Walker outside of the purple, resulting in more games and a stronger bill of health, but overall both players enjoyed plenty of success before coming to Colorado. We know for Walker that he continued to explode into a bonafide star in Colorado, ultimately leading to the franchise’s first MVP award recipient as well as their first Hall of Famer. In his first season with the Rockies, Walker blasted a then-career-high of 36 home runs with an OPS+ of 131. We also saw a healthy Walker hit over 30 home runs three more times as a Rockie. Could we see Bryant reach a similar boost in Colorado?

Ryan McMahon

Just like Vinny Castilla, Ryan McMahon will be the Bomber holding down the fort at third base. McMahon has already proven himself as a superior defender, but if he is going to contribute as a new Blake Street Bomber, he will have to unlock his true potential at the plate to reflect Vinny Castilla.

First Five Rockies Seasons for Castilla and McMahon

Name From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Name From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Vinny Castilla 1993 1997 25-29 615 2235 325 669 113 12 124 364 129 351 0.299 0.340 0.527 107
Ryan McMahon 2017 2021 22-26 452 1380 192 336 70 4 61 215 156 442 0.244 0.323 0.433 88
The offensive output by the Rockies third baseman in their first five seasons with Colorado are quite different. Stathead Baseball

McMahon has had two full seasons in which he hit over 20 home runs (2019 and 2021), and with his new six-year extension with the Rockies, he will have plenty of time to try and unlock consistent power. Now that McMahon will be playing in his third 162 game season as a full-time starter, he has a chance to get into a groove offensively just as Castilla did. McMahon has the power potential, but he will need to make consistent contact to hit for average and get on base, while reliably hitting the long ball. He won’t average the 40 home runs a year that Castilla did from 1996 to 1998, but he could easily shoot for at least 30 a year.

Randal Grichuk

This comparison for our new Bombers works out perfectly because Randal Grichuk was able to work with Dante Bichette during his last couple of years in Toronto. Under the tutelage of Bichette, Grichuk was able to lower his strikeout rate in 2021 and improve his two-strike approach. While 2021 was a bit of a down year for Grichuk, his move to Colorado could reflect Bichette’s first season with the Rockies as a baseline.

Age 29 Seasons For Bichette and Grichuk

Name Year Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Name Year Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Dante Bichette 1993 29 141 538 93 167 43 5 21 89 28 99 0.310 0.348 0.526 117
Randal Grichuk 2021 29 149 511 59 123 25 1 22 81 27 114 0.241 0.281 0.423 89
Bichette’s first season in Colorado reflects what we may be getting from Grichuk after his final season in Toronto Statehead Baseball

Like Bichette, Grichuk could see mass improvement with his power numbers, batting average, and on-base percentage. The move to Coors Field will be critical to this improvement. In his first season at Coors Field in 1995, Bichette hit 40 home runs and saw both his average and on-base percentage rise over the .340 mark. Those kinds of results can only bode well for Grichuk and the number of dingers he can bring to the Rockies.

C.J. Cron

C.J. Cron’s emergence as an offensive force in 2021 was a wonderful surprise for the Rockies. He led the team in home runs and was one of the most consistent players in the lineup the whole season. His reflection of Andrés Galarraga will be key to these new Blake Street Bombers. Galarraga was a pivotal piece of the Bombers prior to Walker’s arrival, and the addition of Coors Field in 1995 helped the aging veteran maintain quality production.

Cron and Galarraga’s First Season with Coors Field

Name Year Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Name Year Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
C.J. Cron 2021 31 142 470 70 132 31 1 28 92 60 117 0.281 0.375 0.530 130
Andres Galarraga 1995 34 143 554 89 155 29 3 31 106 32 146 0.280 0.331 0.511 97
The addition of Coors Field did wonders for Cron and Galarraga’s entire seasons Stathead Baseball

Cron was a dominant force at home in 2021 and his power bat could easily reach nearly 30 home runs as he did last season. He has an age advantage over Galarraga when it comes to spending a few years at Coors Field, and with the addition of the designated hitter, Cron can have plenty more opportunities to stay fresh and put up big numbers over the course of his two-year contract.

Charlie Blackmon

Our final member of our new Blake Street Bombers has been with the team the longest and might be a forgotten member, just like Ellis Burks. Yes, Blackmon’s power was depleted in 2020 and 2021, but we can’t forget that from 2016 to 2019, Chuck Nazty was one of the best hitters in baseball. Burks wasn’t as dominant as Blackmon was during that four-year span, but overall they are still reminiscent of each other in their roles with the team.

Four-Year Stretch for Blackmon and Burks

Name From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Name From To Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
Charlie Blackmon 2016 2019 29-32 598 2428 479 764 143 33 127 342 207 475 0.315 0.376 0.558 128
Ellis Burks 1994 1997 29-32 420 1464 307 456 82 19 99 283 163 300 0.312 0.383 0.596 133
Blackmon’s four-year dominant prime reflects Burks’ time with the Rockies Stathead Baseball

Despite the somewhat down year in 2021, Blackmon is still a top-of-the-line hitter and will easily put up double-digit home runs like Burks did most of the time. He may not reach the 40 homers that Burks did in 1996, but he will provide plenty of opportunities for his fellow bombers in the lineup.

Bill Schmidt’s Blake Street Bombers

The Rockies have five quality hitters in their lineup with the gentlemen listed above. No, they will never be the Blake Street Bombers of old, but they can reboot the philosophy and offensive prowess the Rockies enjoyed in the past. With the way the game is played today, Bill Schmidt is relying on this core of offensive players to carry the team to victory, and they might just surprise us all and actually do it.

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Freeland to make second Opening Day start for Rox | MLB.com

In what was a somewhat shocking development, the Rockies announced that Kyle Freeland would be the Opening Day starter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Many assumed that Germán Márquez would likely get the nod, but instead, the Rockies will turn to the hometown kid to open the season at home and hopefully find some magic he did in 2017 for the home opener and his stellar Opening Day start in 2019. Freeland himself was quite shocked to get the news but remains excited about the opportunity.

Patience key for Lambert; Nuñez’s power | MLB.com

Peter Lambert was scheduled to start on Saturday, but due to some concerns about his arm, he was scratched, and appears that he will face an extremely limited innings workload this year. Lambert hopes to pitch deep into the season and when the innings are more meaningful, but the Rockies will look to massage him back into full action.

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Spring Training 2022: Rockies 11, Athletics 11

Things looked like a certain victory for the Rockies until a six-run bottom of the ninth by the Oakland Athletics resulted in a tie Saturday afternoon. Connor Joe continued a hot spring training with his second home run while Dom Nuñez had a three-hit performance, including a grand slam in the fourth inning. Jake Bird struggled in the ninth, allowing six runs on five hits without recording an out.

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