A glance at the back of Charles Cobb Blackmon’s baseball card is eye candy to even the most casual prospectors. Now in his fourth season, the former Georgia Tech standout has yet to bat below .295 in any minor league stop and has improved his power numbers at both the AA and AAA levels. At 6-3 and 200 lb., the Rockies’ 2008 2nd round pick has above average athleticism and a bat that can hit in the top 1/3 of an MLB lineup.
This year, Blackmon has obliterated pitching in the PCL, batting .347 with 10 HR 48 RBI 11 SB and a 1.007 OPS. At this pace, Blackmon is set to obliterate career highs in virtually every offensive catagory. Granted, he plays in Colorado Springs, which lends itself to inflated offensive numbers, and the Pacific Coast League is widely known to be a hitter-friendly league. Another tick against him has been his defense. Blackmon has committed five errors in 48 games and, despite his strong arm and excellent speed, there is concerns that he could be limited to being a left fielder as a pro.
The Rockies outfield at surface level seems pretty well set. The trio of Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, and Seth Smith performed well in 2010 but, outside of Smith, have struggled to replicate last year’s numbers. The biggest disappointment has been Fowler, whose lack of power, high strikeout numbers and inability to translate his speed into stolen bases has dropped him from the leadoff spot to the eighth hole in the lineup. Rockies manager Jim Tracy maintains that this is a temporary move to take pressure off of Fowler but, with the NL West race completely up for grabs, the urgency to add another good bat to the lineup could prompt the organization to look Blackmon’s way.
2008 Bowman Sterling, Donruss Elite Extra, and Playoff Contenders all issued first year autographs from Blackmon. Average prices range from $5 on the low end to $10 for his Donruss Elite Extra autos (#’ed to just 122 copies). Flash in the pan Razor Collectibles also issued a first year auto from Blackmon (#’ed to 1,499). Prices for those autos can be as low as $3, but many collectors view products from that brand to be akin to minor league products like Tristar and Just. Blackmon’s first chrome autos came out in the 2009 Bowman Chrome product and can be had for $7.50-10.00.
I’m not sure whether Blackmon will get a June call up, but his bat has proved all it needs to at the AAA level. Once he is promoted, I think he will hit right away and gradually move his way up to a #2 spot in the lineup, where his blend of power and speed will be well suited.