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Fantasy Baseball: It's Time for You to Love Kyle Blanks

With all of the recent talk of the San Diego Padres dealing first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, I decided I'd discuss what would happen if Gonzalez actually were dealt. I'll start with a little background.

In 2004 in the 42nd round (1241st overall) the San Diego Padres drafted Kyle Blanks out of Arizona. During his minor league career, Blanks maxed out with 24 home runs in 2007 and hit another 20 home runs in 2008 in AA. In three of Blanks' five minor league seasons, he posted an OPS of over .900 and with his move to the majors in 2009, put up an OPS of .869. In Blanks short minor league career, he's shown a decent ability to get on base with an average of 10.7 BB% At 6'6, 270 lbs, Blanks has the frame to develop into an excellent power hitter and also has the ability to hit near .300 while being a solid middle of the order producer.

In 2009, Blanks played the first half of his season in AAA Portland where he hit 12 home runs and had over half as many walks as he did strikeouts (38/63.) Later into the season, Blanks was called up by the Padres to play in the outfield. Blanks started 34 games in the outfield (21 in right) where he actually didn't play too poorly. While in San Diego, Blanks hit 10 home runs in 148 ABs and slugged .514. His average of .250 could have been attributed to his lack of experience and moving fairly quickly throughout the system, which may have also had an effect on Blanks' K% (37.2% when his career minor league numbers hovered in the 20's.)

In 2010, if Adrian Gonzalez is still on a San Diego Padre's roster, you can expect to see Blanks getting time in the outfield. If Gonzalez is indeed traded before the open of the 2010 season, Blanks should be playing first base. When I go into my drafts in 2010 and everyone is looking for late-round sleepers, I will be keeping Blanks in my mind as a guy I can target very late that has the upside to put up anywhere from 20-25 home runs with a decent average. If Blanks fails to hit or live up to his ability, have no concerns with dropping him as you'll be getting him late as is. Blanks will probably be drafted near players such as Conor Jackson, J.D. Drew and Kosuke Fukudome and if you are willing to take one of those three, you definitely should be willing to take the risk on Kyle Blanks.