The San Diego Padres feature a roster of goodies. The brothers Hairston (otherwise nicknamed Voltron Hairston by Marc Normandin), Tony Gwynn the Thin, and of course the most contrasting pair of teammates in the league: David Eckstein and Kyle Blanks.
The physical differences between Eckstein and Blanks spell themselves out. Heck, even the varied approaches in offensive strategy and execution are pretty easy to spot. How’s this for a factoid, though: Amongst qualified batters, Eckstein is striking out at the lowest ratio and Blanks at the highest. The actual numerical figures are 1.8% and 44.8%
Blanks’ strikeout rate is coming honest. He’s making contact on a little over 63% of his swings. For perspective, Mark Reynolds’ career contact rate is 63% on the nose and Reynolds quickly gained the reputation as a windmill. Of course, the Diamondbacks are willing to tolerate the strikeouts because Reynolds makes up for it when he does put the ball in play. The same cannot be said for Blanks thus far in 2010. About 29% of the balls he puts into play are turning into hits, yet his batting average, even when fueled by an extra three home runs, is more than .100 points lower.
And then there’s Eckstein. In 116 plate appearances, Eckstein has gone down on strikes two times. It goes without saying that Eckstein will not sustain that rate of fasting. The ridiculous part about that factoid is that Blanks has struck out four times in one game, three times in two others, and twice in nine other games. Despite an identical amount of games played and Blanks appearing at the plate 15 fewer times, he’s struck out 37 more times.
The Padres are in San Francisco to start a series which will decide first place in the National League West for the time being. That’s a series worth watching, if only to marvel at the yin and yang that is David Eckstein and Kyle Blanks.
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