Fill in the Blanks

It’s always exciting when an organization promotes its top prospect, and that’s just what has happened in San Diego with the promotion of LF/1B Kyle Blanks. However, enthusiasm should be tempered for the 6’6” 280 lbs rookie, whose raw power will be muted by his home ballpark.

Yes, he’s probably almost ready for the Majors from an offensive standpoint. This season, Blanks hit .283/.393/.485 with 12 homers in 233 at-bats at triple-A. He did, though, see his strikeout rate increase from 18.3 K% to 27.0 K% over the past year. Blanks’ walk rate rose five percent. His track record is good throughout his minor league career. He drove in more than 100 runs in both 2007 and 2008 and hit more than .300 in each of those seasons. Blanks’ career line is .304/.393/.505 in parts of five minor league seasons.

Defensively at his new position of left field, Blanks makes other questionable fielding converts like Matt LaPorta and Brett Wallace look like Adam Everett or Elvis Andrus. His range is… limited, to be kind. At first base, though, he actually shows good athleticism for a player his size and actually has the potential for some above-average defense.

Unfortunately, the presence of Adrian Gonzalez at first base makes it highly unlikely that Blanks, 22, will play regularly at the position any time soon. However, given how much Gonzalez’ value has risen this season – and given the utter hopelessness of the big-league club – San Diego would probably be smart to listen to offers for the incumbent’s services. And that may very well be why he has been promoted to the big-league club with just a month to go before the trading deadline.

Overall, Blanks is worth keeping an eye, but don’t expect much fantasy baseball value from him in 2009. Like Gonzalez, his offense will be much more potent on the road than it will be at home in San Diego.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Corey Nickles
14 years ago

I wish Gonzo could come to Atlanta. That would be amazing.