Charlie Blackmon’s fate will probably end up just like that of Chicago White Sox prospect Anthony Carter, whose first major league spring training ended with a trip back to the minors.
There is no question, though, that Blackmon is making a very favorable impression with the Colorado Rockies.
The former North Gwinnett and Georgia Tech standout had a three-hit game on Wednesday against Texas and went into the weekend hitting .324 in 34 at-bats over 18 games in the Cactus League.
Blackmon, a spring invitee to major league camp, has only enhanced his prospect status, which was already high. He is ranked as the Rockies’ No. 10 prospect by MLB.com and is No. 11 on the Baseball America list.
The 24-year-old outfielder had a double, triple, homer and six RBIs in exhibition play, walking five times to go with five strikeouts.
Still, Blackmon remains very much a long shot to make Colorado’s roster to start the season. He has never played above Class AA and will likely open the year playing for Colorado Springs in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.
Blackmon, a second-round draft choice in 2008, missed time because of hamstring problems early last season and played in just 86 games for Tulsa. He ended up hitting .296 with 11 homers, 55 RBIs and 19 stolen bases for the Drillers before making up for some of his missed time by playing in the Arizona Fall League.
Carter also played in the Fall League, capping a year where his status as a prospect zoomed after a conversion from a starter to a relief pitcher. The Parkview graduate is No. 10 on the Baseball America’s future watch for the White Sox.
Carter, who turns 25 on April 4, led the Southern League with 22 saves last season for Birmingham and then served as the closer for Team USA in the Pan-Am qualifier before going to the Fall League.
The right-hander didn’t allow a run in four Cactus League appearances for the White Sox this spring, giving up three hits, walking two and striking out three in 42⁄3 innings. But he was optioned to Charlotte, where he will serve as the closer for the International League team as he builds up experience.
Blake Wood, another Gwinnett County product, had a whirlwind season last year after moving from a starting role to the bullpen. The former North Gwinnett and Georgia Tech pitcher made his major league debut after starting the season in Class AAA and got into 51 games with Kansas City.
Wood, 25, is in a crowded spring battle to stay in the Royals’ bullpen at the start of this season and had given up three runs in three innings going into the weekend, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out four.
The right-hander started well with Kansas City after his promotion last season, but finished 1-3 with a 5.07 ERA and was 0-for-4 in save opportunities.