Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is off to a fantastic start, and here’s precisely how he can hit .400 this year.
In a 60-game MLB season, everything will come with some sort of asterisk or caveat. But there is no denying the start Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is off to when a name like Barry Bonds is mentioned.
Blackmon went 3-for-4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night. He is now hitting a nice round .500 for the season, with a 15-game hitting streak going.
The last man to hit .400 for a season (and qualify for the batting title) was Ted Williams in 1941 (.406). This short season has invited the notion someone will make a run at .400, if only due to the short sample.
So, what does Blackmon have to do to hit .400 this season?
Blackmon is starting to spur talk he’ll be the man to stalk .400. From here on out he needs to hit .360 to make it happen. MLB.com’s Thomas Harrigan, with assistance from MLB Senior Data Architect Tom Tango, tabbed the odds Blackmon hits .360 for the rest of the season at 10 percent. For a comparison, Mark McGwire hit his then-record 70 home runs in 681 plate appearances (a 10.3 percent rate). That makes Blackmon doing what he’ll need to in order to hit .400 a little more palatable.
Before Tuesday’s game, Blackmon dismissed that a .400 average is realistic in today’s baseball.
“I don’t think .400 is a realistic mark for today’s game,” “The pitching is too good. The stuff is too good. There’s more specialization. I don’t think it’s something that will happen. It’s just too far away from the average.”
Playing home games at Coors Field will help Blackmon. He has a .352 career average there, and with a nearly equal split though 17 games (nine home, eight road) the remaining schedule will also be nearly equal home and road.
Working against Blackmon is Colorado’s 10 games to play against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who entered Tuesday with the NL’s best ERA (2.50). The Rockies also have the second-toughest remaining schedule, per FanGraphs’ playoff odds.
Blackmon won’t sustain a .500 batting average, and time will tell if .400 stays within the realm of possibilities. But the pursuit of a historic mark will be something fun to watch.