Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Ballad of Kyle Blanks

At the start of this season any fantasy baseball analyst worth their salt declared that Kyle Blanks should safely hit between 20-30 HR's in 2010. Raw power along with being named the starting left fielder during spring training did help; yet, despite these generous predictions, Blanks was able to stay under the radar in most mixed leagues as other young players like Jason Heyward, Austin Jackson, Colby Rasmus, and Travis Snider recieved more attention.

Last season, Blanks displayed a reasonable triple slash of .250/.355/.514 in 172 plate appearances.  As you can see by those final two stats, Blanks displayed good plate judgement (in correlation to his batting average) along with above-average power.  However, a major problem with his '09 stats were his high K rate of 37.2%.  Throughout his minor league career, Blanks was seen as an Adam Dunn style player (hopefully with better fielding skills) and his growing walk rate showed promise and would work to curtail his high strikeout totals.

During those few '09 at bats, luck did play a part in regards to his very high HR/FB rate of 21.3% along with a high BABIP of .325 despite only hitting with a linedrive rate of 12%.  Of course, small samples sizes must be damned when establishing order in the baseball world but I was able to successfully target Agent Blanks by landing him during the later rounds on both of my mixed-league fantasy teams.

Unfortunately, Mr. Blanks no longer takes up roster space on either of my teams after scoring a triple slash of .180/.311/.375 in 106 plate appearances as of May 11, 2010.  A major problem during these appearances are the 41 strikeouts which comes in at an alarming 46.1%.

Blanks began the season hitting cleanup but has been dropped down in the order to seventh.  So far, the Padres are fielding a competitive team and are lone occupiers of first place but how much longer is the team expected to utilize Blanks' high K rate and his, overall, lack of power?  I say overall because according to Isolated Power score, Blanks is hitting a reasonable .191 and among his 16 hits - 10 have gone for extra bases. 

Yet the sad ballad goes on...

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