Kyle Blanks has certainly made a name for himself in the past two seasons by hitting more than .300 with in both High-A and Double-A, while driving in a total of 207 runs in 251 games. His OPS was above .900 at each level.
The slugging first baseman also won’t be missed on the field, as he checks in 6’6” and 270 lbs. But the big question (pun intended) with Blanks is: “Does he have a future in San Diego?”
The Padres team plays in a spacious stadium that puts an emphasis on pitching and defence. The club already employs a talented offensive and defensive first base in Adrian Gonzalez, who is only 26 years of age and hit .279/.361/.510 with an ISO of .231 in 616 games. He also won his first Golf Glove in 2008.
Blanks is a step below Gonzalez both offensively and defensively – although he quite possibly possesses more raw power. The hulking player is not going to play anywhere on the diamond other than first base or DH, although he is a little more athletic than he looks and did manage to steal 11 bases in 13 attempts in 2007. He also has a strong arm in the field.
It’s possible that Blanks could eventually serve as a pinch hitter and spell Gonzalez – a left-handed batter – at first base during games when the Padres face a tough southpaw, but his potential would be ruined by a bench job – and it might hinder his conditioning efforts.
Blanks’ future is also further muddled by the fact that the Padres organization spent its 2008 first round draft pick on Allan Dykstra, a college first baseman. He made his debut in High-A ball and could be in Double-A before the end of 2009, if all goes well.
The best-case scenario for Blanks is likely a trade out of San Diego to a stadium where his best asset – his power – can be fully realized. But the main problem with that is that San Diego is a long way from contending and clubs rarely trade prospects for prospects. It’s possible, though, they he could be used in a package to help acquire some young MLB pitching, which would benefit the Padres more than a slugging one-dimensional first baseman.
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