Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blanks in San Diego Soon?

Tuesday May 12, 2009

Will Kyle Blanks be in San Diego soon?

The San Diego Padres offense has been sputtering as of late and you can hear the groundswell of fans clammering for the Padres to call up promising young prospect Kyle Blanks.

Corey Brock, beat writer for the Padres on MLB.com, talked about Blanks on his blog earlier this afternoon.

He asked if Blanks should be brought up or allowed to get some time in LF at Portland and a little seasoning against AAA pitching before getting the call.

With all the hulabaloo I thought I would throw in my two cents.

In my opinion Kyle Blanks is the type of athlete that could adjust to LF or RF for that matter, but the key word is adjust. Bringing a 22 year old kid up to the major leagues and asking him to not only adjust to a much higher level of pitching, but also a whole new position is asking for trouble. I don't think he would do well at either to start.

Kyle Blanks has hit well at each level he has played at as a professional and will undoubtedly be a good major league ball player. In fact his batting has improved as he took the steps up the ladder.

But Blanks has been given a full season at each level to hone his craft and learn to adapt to a higher quality of pitchers. The jump from AAA to the majors may be the biggest jump of all and we would be asking Blanks to do it after just 2 months at the AAA level. Givin his performance as of late, that may be a mistake.

Over the past week Blanks has faced some of the best pitching to date this year including major league pitchers John Lackey and Ervin Santana, who are on rehab assignments with Salt Lake City, and Sean O'Sullivan the Angels top RHP prospect.

The results?

Blanks hit 5/26 - .192, with 2 home runs, 1 walk, 11 strike outs, 5 runs scored and 4 rbi in 7 games.

In other words he struggled a bit.

That is not to say that Blanks will continue to struggle, just that it is the first time he has had an extended stretch batting against that caliber of pitcher. He needs time to adjust.

What do I think the Padres should do with Kyle Blanks?

Give him some time at AAA to adjust to the pitching and some time to play LF.

Once Kevin Kouzmanoff starts hitting in June as he has done each of the past two years, start shpping him with the goal of trading Kouzmanoff away around the deadline to bring in some pitching or middle infield help.

Then if Blanks is looking steady in LF and has continued to hit at least at his currrent level of .289/.391//.544/.935, bring him up to San Diego.

Once you bring up Blanks, play him daily. Just put him in LF for the rest of the season and let him know he can go out and play without any pressure to produce immediately.

Then you can move Headley to third base, his natural position.

In the meantime give Kouzmanoff an occassional day off or let him be the DH against the AL and give Headley some games at third to get him re-acclimated to a position he hasn't played regularly since 2007.

With the plethora of good fielding outfielders coming up the farm system, the Padres will have several to choose from to fill RF after Giles is not renewed for 2010 or they will have $9 million extra in the budget to go out and get a free agent outfielder to compliment Gerut and Hairston.

Jason Bay, Rick Ankiel, Rocco Baldelli, Bobby Abreu, and Xavier Nady are all names that could and probably will be considered to fill the roster spot being vacated by Giles. although Bay and Abreu will probably be out of the Padres price range.

I think this will serve the Padres well and put them in a better position to win in the rest of 2009 and the years to come.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?

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