The Colorado Rockies have cooled off. Dropping eight of their last ten, they once again find themselves in a familiar position in the NL West. And that’s watching the division leader ride off into the summer with a double digit game lead. While the buzz around the Colorado Rockies has buzzed down, the individual buzz of both Charlie Blackmon and Jordan Lyles has not. Deservedly so. Both youngsters have been the biggest surprise for the Colorado Rockies thus far in 2014.
Back in “Black”-mon
If you’ve followed Colorado Rockies baseball for the last few years, you’re familiar with the guy they call Chuck Nazty. The 6-foot-three-inch lefty from the Wramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech has been considered the Rockies top prospect since he was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the 2nd round of the 2008 amateur draft. The 27-year-old Chuck Nazty has burst onto the scene in his first full season with the Rox. Hitting .305 with 11 dingers and 40 RBI through 60 games, he’s been the second best offensive weapon on a Rockies lineup full of offense prowess.
While his numbers have slid from a line of .352/.385/.614 since early May, about the same time the Rockies started sliding as a whole; Blackmon is still deserving of his very first All-Star selection. After all, it was in early May that Blackmon’s tear was MVP-caliber and only overshadowed by Troy Tulowitkzi’s out of this world start.
Watching Chuck Nazty in 2013, you could see the potential was there. The time spent in the Rockies system was beginning to pay off. Well this season he seems to have put it altogether. Don’t expect Blackmon to return to those .350-like numbers as pitchers will make adjustments to the breakout star. But you can bet Charlie Blackmon will continue to be a dominant hitter and one of the best bats in a talented Rockies lineup. And there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be considered the biggest surprise in baseball, not just in Colorado.
I Can See For “Lyles”
Earlier this week Jordan Lyles broke his hand at home plate. The Colorado Rockies right-hander had been arguably the best pitcher thus far in 2014 going 5-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Despite the blow to both Lyles and the Rockies, his trip to the DL should not take away from the fact that he has been as big a surprise this season as his teammate Charlie Blackmon.
Posting his best career ERA to date, Lyles has a team-leading 49 strikeouts in his first season with Colorado. For the Colorado Rockies, Lyles early season success is exciting. He wasn’t expected to have such a big role in the Colorado Rockies rotation, but due to injuries there he was. And while Jorge De La Rosa struggled to find his footing earlier this season, Lyles served as the rock of the Rockies bullpen with seven quality starts.
The injury suffered by Jordan Lyles had him teary-eyed in post game interviews. Just 23-years-old, the kid was having the best season of his career. With Lyles down, the Rockies will look to Franklin Morales to fill the gap. They can also consider prospects Tyler Matzek and Jon Gray. One thing is for certain, Lyles’ hand can’t heal soon enough for him or the Colorado Rockies. And despite the disappointing injury, one cannot forget to include Jordan Lyles in the discussion of Colorado’s biggest surprises of 2014.