Will Venable vs. Kyle Blanks

Neither player has won a starting job in the outfield outright. Neither player has performed up to expectations. Neither has shown they can perform consistently. However, going forward the Padres may have to make a choice. Do they keep Will Venable or do they keep Kyle Blanks?

In examining this question, it’s important to remember the expectations of both and their production to this point. Venable was drafted in the 7th round in 2005. The 7th round isn’t necessarily a life sentence to minor league play, but it’s certainly not a place someone wants to be drafted if they hope to make a quick splash in the league. Yet any player drafted in the 7th round can only be thankful they weren’t taken in the 42nd round. That was the case with Blanks in 2004 when he was drafted by the Padres with their first pick of the 42nd round. Based on draft position, there was more hope resting on Venable.

Since their draft days, both players have cracked the Major League lineup, but Venable has seen more action. He has played in 375 Major League games. And during that time, he has shown a split personality in the league. Venable originally showed signs of power, but he has since turned his game towards speed. In 2009, he hit 12 home runs in 95 games. In 2010, he hit 13 home runs in 131 games. But in 2011, he hit just 9. Venable stole one base in 2008 and six bases in 2009. Then in 2010, he broke out and stole 29, and in 2011 he stole 26.

Blanks is one of the largest baseball players I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to power. Blanks did flash some great SLG numbers in his first stint with the club hitting 10 home runs in 54 games to the tune of a .514 slugging percentage. Since then, though, he has battled injury and playing time. Blanks may very well be a power-hitting righty, but the lack of consistent time limits our analysis.

In the field, both Blanks and Venable have been assets. Blanks, in 3 seasons, has a DRS of 6. Venable on the other hand has a DRS of 27 in 4 seasons. Since Venable has seen more playing time, it’s important to compare him to Blanks on a per year average. Venable’s UZR/150 is 8.0. Blanks’ UZR/150 is 1.7.

Perhaps the biggest statistic of all is age. Venable is 29 and likely at his ceiling. Blanks is 25 with room to grow (offensively, not in size. God forbid he grows any larger). Age and projected years of production are important to any team, and Blanks’ youth may very well keep him in the organization.

If deciding which of the two to use, the decision is difficult. If we’re considering proven talent, you’d have to go with Venable. Yet, if we’re considering upside, you’d have to go with Blanks. Then again, neither one may pan out.

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Tags: Kyle Blanks Padres Will Venable

  • http://whassup98.blogspot.com/ lynchmob

    Good topic … does seem like it might come down to this. I hope they both can stay healthy, clearly more a factor for Blanks … and I think / hope if Kyle is healthy, he is the guy they should keep because of his bat potential. The trouble is, can he play RF? Isn’t Quentin a lock for LF and Alonso a lock for 1B? So this question really is … can/should Blanks beat out Venable for RF?

    It just feels like Blanks is destined for, at best, a few good seasons for a team that can play him at 1B … and that makes me sad because I’d really like to see him make it with the Padres …

  • ChickenFriars

    @lynchmob It’s a terribly unfair game isn’t it? Kyle Blanks could be above-average to maybe even a star if given consistent playing time. But it looks like he will never get that time. I think he could do just fine as an every day starter in right, but first base is where he is more comfortable. He’s not going to be playing first base for the Padres, and unless something changes he won’t see very much time in the outfield this season either. Rumors came out that the Padres weren’t going to part with him, but they may be willing to part with Venable, but I’m not sure that’s the case anymore. We’ll see.

  • Justme1103

    I’d like to see Blanks play everyday at 1b in Tucson where he would put up huge offensive numbers. Then maybe we can sell high on him to a team with an opening at 1b or DH.

  • ChickenFriars

    @Justme1103 I think you’re going to get the opportunity to see him every day at triple-a, but I do not think the Padres will deal him after the season. I think they may have more available positions and playing time in the outfield next season, and they want him as either protection or a bona fide starter.