Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sorry, Charlie, Again

Gentlemen, it's time to admit the obvious: Charlie Blackmon, who is scheduled to lead off for the Rockies this afternoon as they likely get swept by the Braves in Atlanta, is not a major league player. Blackmon now has exactly 100 plate appearances in the majors, and he's hitting .250. And batting average appears to be his strong suit: Among his 24 hits are just two extra-base hits, and he's walked just three times.

So his on-base percentage is a pathetic .273, and his slugging percentage is a feeble .292. Among all the Rockies who have 100 plate appearances this season, both those numbers are the worst, save for the now-released Jose Lopez. Dexter Fowler had a disastrous start to the season - yet his 2011 OPS is 100 points higher than Blackmon's.

How bad is Blackmon's .564 OPS? Among National League qualifiers for the batting title this year, only one player has put up a worse mark: Ian Desmond, shortstop for the Washington Nationals, is a tinch behind at .558. The worst OPS for a left fielder is the one recorded by Raul Ibanez of the Phillies, whom everyone agrees is toast - and it's more than 100 points higher than Blackmon's. And of course, Blackmon has the benefit of playing half his games in maybe the best hitter's park in baseball. In road games he is 3 for 41 with no extra-base hits and one walk. That's an .073 average, and a .168 OPS.

Yet this fellow is leading off and playing left field for the Rockies at Turner Field this afternoon. I would hope that this is purely a result of Carlos Gonzalez' injury, except that Blackmon has started 24 of the 28 games the Rockies have played since his callup. If the Rockies have any prayer of getting back into the race, when CarGo is ready to go again at full strength, Charlie Blackmon will be back on the Sky Sox.

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