Breakout trio taking place alongside Rox's stars

Big seasons from Blackmon, Dickerson, Arenado bode well for future

Breakout trio taking place alongside Rox's stars

DENVER -- It wasn't too long ago that the Rockies were looking like an offensive force to be reckoned with. Of course, it's easy to forget now, but Colorado's flaws weren't nearly as bantered about when the team was averaging nearly five runs per game and batting a collective .289 through the first three months of the season.

For as much credit as Troy Tulowitzki's once National League MVP Award-worthy campaign deserves for that production, that early offensive eruption was equally due to breakout seasons from three players: Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson and Nolan Arenado.

The Rockies' trio of emerging stars has accounted for 29.5 percent of the team's runs, 31 percent of its RBIs and 34 percent of its homers.

On a team with the 2014 Home Run Derby captain and two former NL batting champions, those numbers should be noteworthy enough. But when you take a step back and realize that Blackmon and Dickerson were firmly on the roster bubble and Arenado missed more than a month with a broken left finger, it makes it all the more promising.

"It's nice to know we got some young guys here who can make an impact and help the team win," Arenado said. "The future, it seems bright."

Arenado was the only sure thing out of those three to make the Rockies out of Spring Training. While he already had a Gold Glove under his belt from his rookie season, his .301 on-base percentage from last year left much to be desired.

In Year 2 with Colorado, Arenado has proven he's far more than a one-trick pony with a slick glove. Beyond leading the team in jaw-dropping putouts, his 33 doubles are five more than the next-highest Rockie, while his 18 home runs rank as the third most on the team and are eight more than he hit in 25 fewer games last season.

But all of that power production still pales in comparison to the statistics Dickerson has posted this season.

In his rise from the Rockies' sixth outfielder to an everyday fixture in the heart of the lineup, Dickerson has belted a team-leading 22 homers. His .925 OPS is second only to Tulowitzki's among Colorado players with at least 100 at-bats. And had he logged the necessary plate appearances at the beginning of the season, Dickerson would be firmly in the chase to become the second consecutive Rockie to take home the NL batting crown.

"Those guys are having tremendous seasons, Nolan and Dicky," manager Walt Weiss said. "Both of those guys are establishing themselves as premier-type players in this league."

Blackmon, meanwhile, established his place among the league's best leadoff hitters after his peers selected him for his first All-Star appearance earlier this season.

Although his numbers have tailed off as of late, Blackmon's 65 RBIs out of the leadoff spot are still the most in the Majors, and his 17 homers are second to only the Brewers' Carlos Gonzalez in the same category.

"Runs are runs whether you're driving them or stepping on the plate," Weiss said. "Scoring runs is the bottom line when you're talking about the offense in this game. ... Charlie has done a good of that in the leadoff spot."

Ideally, Blackmon would have more than 68 runs scored at the top of the order when you factor in his early gaudy numbers. But he deserves a little leeway considering the Rockies have rarely had their optimal lineup on the field.

And "rarely" might be an understatement.

Only three times this season did Colorado field a lineup containing Tulowitzki, Blackmon, Dickerson, Arenado and Gonzalez -- the club's five core players heading into next year.

That leaves plenty of room for high hopes heading into 2015.

"Those guys that are hurt are All-Stars, and they're going to be All-Stars every year," Dickerson said. "For us to be able to produce, and especially produce at this level right now, is good for us. That gives us just much more confidence going into next year with those guys on top."

Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.