Opportunity Seeker: Kyle Blanks
Guess who just got interesting everyone? Drawing a blank? I’ll show myself out. In all seriousness though, Cameron Maybin just hit the disabled list again, this time with damage to his left PCL. He’s on the shelf for six weeks now, which opens up a bit more playing time for my favorite band-aid player out there; Chris Denorfia. But he’s not the only one to benefit from Maybin’s absence, as Denorfia was already seeing plenty of playing time as is. Kyle Blanks seemed to be on the roster bubble when Quentin, Maybin and Denorfia were all healthy, despite solid production in limited at-bats.
Blanks has compiled a .287/.378/.492 slash line in 143 plate appearance on the season. He’s hit six home runs and seven doubles, good for a .205 ISO. His walk rate is a solid 9.8% and his strikeout rate is high-but-not-too-high at 19.6%. That’s a really solid player, especially for deep leagues. Of course, we knew Blanks could be this type of player. He showed glimpses in 2009 as a 22 year old, hitting .250/.355/.514 in 172 plate appearances as a rookie, and we expected some progression from there before he fell prey to injuries. Tommy John surgery was the big culprit and it seemed as though San Diego might have moved on from Blanks while he was recovering. The big man has made it hard to forget about this season though, registering a career high line drive percentage (18.8%), as well as basically flipping his fly ball and ground ball tendencies.
Given Blanks’ natural strength and raw power, it would be natural to think that it would behoove him to hit the ball in the air as much as possible. We have to remember though that he plays in San Diego, and despite the walls moving in, PETCO Park is still a very forgiving pitching environment. He’s also got his HR/FB rate up to 17.6%, it’s highest since his rookie season. All of these new highs for Blanks might make it appear as though regression is inevitable. I’m open to that possibility, but it’s worth noting that Blanks is entering his age 26 season and some progression, especially returning from injury, should be expected.
With a solid walk rate and power potential, all Blanks needed was the playing time to prove himself a valuable fantasy commodity. Cameron Maybin’s most recent injury might be just what the doctor ordered for Kyle Blanks’ dynasty league value.