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MLB All-Star Break: Previewing Charlie Blackmon in the Home Run Derby

Former Beesballer Charlie Blackmon is participating in this year’s Home Run Derby. He’s got a long road to victory ahead of him.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants
With a swing like that, how could he lose?
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

So in case you don’t follow baseball, or if you do and have been living under a rock for the last week, Major League Baseball’s All-star rosters have been announced. Not only that, but the participants for the annual Home Run Derby have been announced.

Now among these, you’ll see the popular picks like Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, but there’s one other name on there that should catch your eye: Charlie Blackmon.

For those who don’t follow baseball (specifically college), Blackmon is one of Tech’s most successful alumni in the MLB. The 31-year-old centerfielder got his start on the Flats after transferring from Young Harris in 2006. Following a redshirt season, Blackmon made his debut in 2007 as a pitcher before moving to the outfield in his senior season.

In his senior season, let’s just say Blackmon was pretty good. That season, Blackmon led the Yellow Jackets in quite a few categories: batting average (.396), hits (99), runs (68), OBP (.469), and stolen bases (25). Following his senior season, Blackmon was selected in the second round of the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Blackmon went on to make his MLB debut for the Rockies in 2011 and served as a reserve for a few years before taking hold of the starting spot in 2014, when he got his first All-star appearance. Since then, Blackmon has only grown better and better as a player, until last season when he had a phenomenal season, finishing with a line of .324/.381/.552 with 29 home runs and 17 stolen bases.

As good as he was last season, it looks like he’s doing even better this season: .320/.372/.579 with 19 home runs and eight stolen bases. He also has 10 triples (no big deal).

Looking at the above bracket, Blackmon has a very difficult road ahead of him to the championship round. Using the stats I normally use to make my Home Run Derby pick, I’ve laid out how everyone stacks up.

2017 Home Run Derby Contestants

Player Avg. Exit Velocity (mph) Avg. Distance (feet) Avg. Generated Velocity (mph) Avg. Launch Angle (deg) Avg. Height (feet)
Player Avg. Exit Velocity (mph) Avg. Distance (feet) Avg. Generated Velocity (mph) Avg. Launch Angle (deg) Avg. Height (feet)
Giancarlo Stanton 91.9 203.9 2.9 12.3 45.6
Aaron Judge 97.2 241 8.7 14.3 47.4
Cody Bellinger 91.8 233.3 2.7 19.1 54.5
Mike Moustakas 87.2 214.6 0.4 19.6 52.4
Miguel Sano 94.9 236.2 6.5 16.8 52.7
Charlie Blackmon 86.5 211.7 -1.6 14.1 42.6
Justin Bour 90.5 202.8 1.7 10.2 38.4
Gary Sanchez 93.5 204.9 5 12.3 42.8
MLB Average 87.7 199.7 -0.8 12.5 39.9

In nearly every category, Blackmon is at or near the bottom, but playing the majority of his games at Coors Field, he was probably able to offset these stats. Being at Marlins Park in Miami, FL, though, could put Blackmon at an even bigger disadvantage tonight.

So is there any hope for Blackmon tonight? Certainly! Blackmon has the luxury of being in the same side of the bracket as two rookies, so nerves could always play a part. He certainly has a tough road ahead of him though.

So what do y’all think? Can Blackmon pull off the upset and win the Home Run Derby?