DENVER -- Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt insists he isn't this smart, even though the scouts make him look that way.The top two hitters in slugging percentage when batting leadoff are the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon and the Rays' Corey Dickerson. Both were Rockies picks, and neither happened in
DENVER -- Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt insists he isn't this smart, even though the scouts make him look that way.
The top two hitters in slugging percentage when batting leadoff are the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon and the Rays' Corey Dickerson. Both were Rockies picks, and neither happened in the first round. Blackmon came in the second round (72nd overall) in 2008 out of Georgia Tech, and Dickerson came in the eighth round (260th) in 2010 out of Itawamba (Miss.) Community College -- after the Rockies picked him in the 29th round the previous year.
Going into Saturday's play, Blackmon was slugging .620, Dickerson .609. They also were second and third in OPS -- Blackmon at 1.001 and Dickerson at .970 -- in leadoff plate appearances. Both have stats that are #ASGWorthy, and they could be in the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 11 in Miami. But Schmidt, who has run the Rockies' Draft since 2000, chuckles when the compliments come.
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"But if we were that smart, we would have picked Charlie before the second round, and Corey was an eighth-round pick."
But both situations took keen scouting.
Blackmon was a pitcher at Young Harris College in Georgia and during his first years at Georgia Tech. He converted in a summer collegiate wood-bat league before the 2008 season. The Rockies weren't on him until the Georgia Tech season. Some of his tools made a leadoff future logical.
"It was really his first year as a position player, and we thought Charlie profiled in center field," Schmidt said. "Charlie ran better back then -- he had a knee injury in the Minor Leagues and lost half a step. Charlie could really run, and we thought he had a chance to develop with the bat.
"Alan Matthews (now with the Dodgers) saw him and Danny Montgomery (now a Rockies special assistant to the general manager) did his thing. When I saw him was at the ACC Tournament, and he started in right field. I said, 'This guy has got some tools and ability.'"
Assistant scouting director Damon Iannelli kept tabs on Dickerson, who would have signed with Mississippi State out of high school if not for an arm injury. Iannelli recommended signing him the first time the Rockies drafted him. The team passed, but Dickerson kept hitting at the junior college level.
"Damon did a very good job, and we decided to stay on him, then Jay Matthews, Ty Coslow when he was with us and Montgomery agreed -- it was a group of us," Schmidt said. "We all saw the same thing. This was a guy who really could hit."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.