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May 13, 2014 at 6:34 am ET
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I Love the ’90’s: the “Coors Field Effect” is back

About two months ago, I mused here about how a rash of debilitating pitching injuries might signify a renaissance for Major League hitters in 2014. Well, maybe not: the current MLB leader in home runs, Tony Abreu, is on pace to hit “only” 54 (he’s also a rookie, so 30 is more likely). But as we close in on the first quarter of the season, there’s something very nostalgic taking place in the Mile High City.

Simply put, the Colorado Rockies are hitting balls-out (of the humidor) — heading into last night’s game, the Rox have scored 230 runs in 40 games, good enough for a 5.75 runs/game clip. If they continue at that rate for the entire season season, Colorado would become the first team to eclipse the 900-run mark since the 2009 New York Yankees plated 915 (they also won the World Series).

Who (or what) is driving the prolific Rockies offense?

  • A well-rounded attack (four hitters in the NL’s top 15) led by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, he of the .766 slugging percentage and 4.0 WAR
  • Late bloomer Charlie Blackmon’s .352 average is good enough for second place in all of baseball (but still 40 points behind the aforementioned Tulowitzki)
  • A resurgent Justin Morneau — the 2006 AL MVP is hitting .329
  • Third baseman Nolan Arenado, who just finished a 28-game hitting streak
  • An incredible advantage at home, where the entire Colorado team is hitting .355, getting on base in 40% of their at bats, and averaging almost two home runs a game

And keep in mind, the 23-17 Rockies are still waiting for Carlos Gonzalez (144 OPS+ in 2013) and Michael Cuddyer (.331 BA in ’13) to heat up/get healthy. Despite their slow starts, however, the Rockies still rank first in all of MLB when it comes to runs scored, batting, on base, and slugging percentage.

From 1996-2001, the Rockies averaged 925 runs a season (including 1,028 in 1999; 39 off the all-time record), so one season of 900+ runs doesn’t necessarily mean the Blake Street Bombers are back, but given this era’s tendency to stifle vintage Steroid Era binge scoring, the 2014 Colorado Rockies are a nice trip down memory lane. Here’s hoping they can keep it up.

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