I don’t know, I think he qualifies. He’s a low-average, very-little-power guy that looks like he gets way too many at-bats for an outfielder. His statistics on his player page are so boring that they’re hard to look at. Yet because of his fielding, base-running, and okay on-base skills, he actually deserves playing time.
I’d still rather play the guy who can at least bring elite defense and baserunning everyday over players that might hit slightly better but do everything else worse. However I’m not exactly optimistic at Blanco providing anything more than replacement level production the rest of the way, given his season so far and his history.
Comment by soladoras — September 11, 2012 @ 3:33 pm
Such a bad analysis of stats. Blanco is not underrated and he is a backup LF. As you mentioned he is striking out way too much for somebody with very little power. That really hurts considering his speed. But the most frustrating part about Blanco isnt really what stats will tell you. All you have to do is watch. He looks completely lost at the plate and it has been that way for about 3 months. The league figured him out and he has not adjusted. Maybe he will but it hasnt happened yet and you cant find that in the stats. Definitely not underrated.
I do agree that he should be playing RF instead of Pence but Blanco isnt really the long term plan for the OF. He is more likely to be a 4th OF/platoon guy if he can turn it around. That would mean nobody could really get comfortable for a long period of time in RF. I am still not sure if it is better to have Blanco in RF when he does play or not but it would seem like the better option.
His primary usefulness is as a fourth outfielder, but this team has needed him as a third outfielder. He’s performed at an average rate by using his glove, patience, and speed when the rest of the package is not always there, and that’s in line with his career work. Nobody likes him. He’s been very useful. I think that qualifies him.
I watch him almost every day here. I know he’s struggling a bit. He’s still got a walk rate over 10% over those bad months. He’s still had a great glove. He’s still been a plus on the basepaths.
I don’t think my point is that we should rate him as a star, or even an every day guy every year. But this year? He’s been very important, and he gets no love. Marco Scutaro has been better, but he gets love, at least at the park.
All the Gregor Blanco sucks comments have to validate this article.
Comment by lonewolf — September 11, 2012 @ 5:08 pm
I think the reason Blanco gets so little love in SF is that there has been a parade of 4th outfielder, AAAA types in the past 5 years. From Rajai Davis to Fred Lewis to John Bowker, then Darren Ford and Nate Schierholtz. Fair or not, Blanco is getting lumped in with them and their inconsistent careers. Blanco is just seen as the next in this line when the Giants really could use a player of his type (along with a “real” 3rd outfielder).
I think this better captures who the most underrated Giants is this season, after all, Pagan was expected to be our leadoff guy, so it is kind of hard to underrate someone like that.
I would also add to your post that over his career, Blanco has been very good at getting on base, which is a key thing I liked about his acquisition. Thus, when he comes in, we don’t take as big a hit in offense as we might, because as the lineup calculator regression values showed, OBP is worth more to an offense than SLG, and, of course, he’ll never be hitting in the middle where his lack of SLG would really hurt.
He’s a great 4th OF and if he ever can settle down (I have to think that he’s been pressing a bit and over eager to swing, resulting in more K’s as well as less walks), he might be able to put it all together and become a valuable starter as well.
I watch him daily also. Thats true this team has needed him and i do think he is giving it his all but i believe the only reason they need him is because they dont have anybody else. There is no other option or that option in my opinion would be better. I wanted them to call up Gary Brown just because i thought it couldnt be any worse than Blanco. I know Brown is not going to be a major threat up here but thats how much of a sore spot in the lineup he was. Earlier in the year he was walking and getting hits but it just seems like all that has dried up now.
Thanks for shining the light on a underappreciated player who was on the radar of Gints prospect hounds due to his great VZ winter league performance. I would echo the criticism you got on his hot streak contributing a lot of his WAR value, but that is a minor complaint. Here is what Blanco has done well – stayed healthy. He made Schierholtz expendable because of the lefty bat and great d, ie the very good 4th OF. He is being pressed into action, and he is struggling with his contact rate. Maybe the home runs he hit did him a disservice, sometimes when light hitters make big contact they get swing happy. Who knows for sure on that. I like the fact Blanco goes up to battle and work the count. But mainly, he stays healthy, he is cheap, and he can play all over the OF. I look at him as a Darren Ford type player who can actually steal first base. There is a lot of value in that.
Comment by Shankbone — September 12, 2012 @ 4:28 pm
Blanco has been superior on defense, and he surely was good pre-allstar break. But until recently he has been horrible post allstar break on offense. He has often looked over matched, and has a very high K rate for the type of hitter he is. I think its great to have a guy like Blanco who plays awesome defense and has excellent base path skills as the teams 4th or 5th outfielder. He made an important catch yesterday vs. the Rockies in center, that I am not sure would have been made by Pagan. Pagan however, is a top three outfielder on this team, with Melky, Pence and Pagan.
Comment by bradley emden — September 13, 2012 @ 11:39 pm