Atypical leadoff man Blackmon racks up RBIs

Rockies' No. 1 hitter not slowing down, drives in MLB-leading 47th run with sac fly

June 2nd, 2017

SEATTLE -- Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon isn't the typical leadoff hitter.

Even while hitting in the top spot in the order, Colorado's long black-bearded star outfielder is on pace for 136 RBIs after plating a Major League-best 47 runners in the club's first 56 games. He added another RBI in the Rockies' 6-3 win over the Mariners on Thursday.

Some of it comes with being opportunistic, some of it comes with luck, but Blackmon doesn't expect his RBI pace to dwindle as the season progresses. Not only would that give him the most RBIs in a season since Chris Davis drove in 138 runs in 2013, it would shatter the record for most RBIs by a leadoff hitter since 1974 -- the earliest FanGraphs' data tracked splits on batting order. Darin Erstad drove in 100 runs in 2000.

"It just shows what type of year Charlie has had," manager Bud Black said. "The power, hitting with runners in scoring position, there's probably a two-out RBI stat that's off the charts.

Black's inclination is spot on. Blackmon is hitting .438 with runners in scoring position, and 25 of his 47 RBIs have come with two outs.

Blackmon has shattered his personal expectations with his RBI total.

"Usually [leadoff] guys don't get to hit with runners on base that much, especially in the National League," Blackmon said.

Of course, Blackmon shouldn't be handed all the credit, as the Rockies' hitters at the bottom of the order have allowed the lineup to turn over with opportunities for Blackmon.

Catcher Tony Wolters, who spends most of his time batting eighth, has a .423 on-base percentage this season, and , who has hit seventh in 17 games this season, gets on base at a .338 clip in that spot of the lineup.

Colorado also leads the Majors in sacrifice hits with 26, which Black and Blackmon credit to the pitchers' ability to move the runners over at the bottom of the order.

"I don't know if 6-7-8 are going to hit .300 all year, but it would be nice," Blackmon said. "And I think they have the ability to do it. It could keep up."