StrategyMay 30, 2011

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NL Diamond In The Rough: Kyle Blanks - 2 comments

By Josh Shepardson

A number of folks are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the San Diego Padres promote a hot hitting prospect from the minors to man first base for the parent squad; those folks are likely to be disappointed. The prospect causing a buzz around the Padres organization is Anthony Rizzo, one of the prime pieces in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. General Manager Jed Hoyer has already stated that he’s not ready yet, which should open the door for Kyle Blanks to get another shot against Major League pitching sometime soon.

Slowing down the need to promote a player to play first base is a solid May from Brad Hawpe, albeit one that’s likely to be followed by another brutal slump if he’s unable to curb his high strikeout rate. Hawpe is a wreck against lefties, so a platoon could be Blanks’ first opportunity for playing time. Currently playing in Double-A, Blanks is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. His numbers haven’t been overwhelming there, .295/.358/.479 with two home runs in 146 at bats, but he has handled the bat fairly well, ripping 15 doubles and three triples.

The Padres sit last in the National League West standings, seven games out of first place, and clearly have an eye on the future. Brad Johnson of The Hardball Times suggests that it may be in the organization’s best interests to play both Hawpe and Blanks extensively, with the intention of trading both to help add pieces to a rebuilding club; an idea that makes a great deal of sense. That line of thinking could provide deep mixed-leaguers and NL-only gamers with a player in Blanks that packs a healthy amount of punch and is flying under the radar. Owned in zero percent of Yahoo! leagues, it’s not necessary to stash him now, but he’s a player worth adding to watch lists. Coming into 2010 drafts, Blanks was a popular late round sleeper for power, thanks to a 148 at-bat, 10-home run campaign in 2009. He shouldn’t be dismissed just because he’s out of sight at the moment. Out of sight, but not out of mind.

Josh is a graduate of SUNY Cortland's Sport Management program, and an aspiring fantasy writer. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe Forums where he posts as B-Chad. You can also follow his work at The Hardball Times and follow him on Twitter (BChad50).
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2 Responses to “NL Diamond In The Rough: Kyle Blanks”

  1. User avatar wrveres says:

    Not sure why anybody would be keeping their fingers crossed for a friar bat ;)

    It’s my opinion, that the Padres want to get Blanks some time in the minor league outfield, and then promote him to replace Ludwick once he is traded. Heck Blanks could play either corner outfield spot once he gets right. We could see Blanks and Rizzo in late July, giving that team some much needed punch.

  2. B-Chad says:

    I was hoping you’d chime in. Everything I’ve read is that he was completely miscast as an outfielder, even though he is athletic for his size. I also think it would be wise for Rizzo to spend nearly the entire year in the minors. He’s crushing the ball now, but he was only good last year in Double-A, so I’d want to see sustained success. I do think you are right in that the Padres will trade Ryan Ludwick.


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