Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon’s realistic run at .400

With three more hits Tuesday,  Colorado Rockies slugger Charlie Blackmon’s at .500.

More than one-quarter of the way through the 2020 season, it’s time to consider the real possibility that Colorado Rockies slugger Charlie Blackmon may actually bat .400.

Blackmon had three more hits Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Through his team’s first 17 games, he’s had 68 official at-bats and collected 34 base hits.

He’s only the fifth player since World War II to stand at .500 this far into a season. The others are a pretty heady group:  Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Larry Walker, and Barry Bonds.

But that’s not what gives Blackmon a serious shot at actually becoming the game’s first .400 hitter since Ted Williams in 1941. The truth lies in the math. I’ll do it for you.

Blackmon’s 68 official at-bats in 17 games projects to 240 at-bats over the course of the 60-game season that will be played in 2020.

To bat .400 in 240 official at-bats, a player must finish the season with at least 96 base hits. That’s .400 on the number.

Translation: With 34 hits in his first 68 at-bats, Blackmon needs 62 more hits in what project to be his final 172 at-bats in order to get to the .400 level. That requires a .360 average coming home.

What’s the likelihood of Blackmon batting .360 over a 43-game stretch? His record is the best indicator.

Since 2016, Blackmon has three times – in 2016, 2017, and 2019 — topped .300 for the full season. Over those three seasons, there have been 53 separate 43-game stretches when Blackmon has hit .360 or better. That’s 16 percent of all of Blackmon’s 43-game stretches during those three seasons.

Just to cite a couple of those stretches, he batted .379 during the 43 games between April 16 and June 21 just last season with 74 base hits in 195 official at-bats, During the 2017 season, he batted .392 in 43 games from July 7 to Aug. 28, 67 for 171.

In short, Blackmon’s chances of finishing 2020 at or above .400 now could be calculated as approaching one-in-five. That’s a realistic prospect.

It’s especially realistic considering that Blackmon will play 21 of those final 43 games at Coors Field. So far this season the Colorado Rockies slugger is batting .553 at Coors, with its uber-spacious outfield gaps. He batted .379 there in 2019 and .391 in 2017.

None of this makes Charlie Blackmon a sure thing to become the first .400 hitter since Williams in 1941. But considering where he stands right now, he has the track record to make a legitimate run.