San Diego Padres: Where does Blash fit in Outfield?
One of the strengths of the 2017 San Diego Padres will be their outfield. With four capable starters, Jabari Blash finds himself on the outside looking in.
Though many predict another season of struggles for the San Diego Padres in 2017, there are several clear strengths of this ball club.
One is the outfield, as two exciting rookies and two players with more experience give fans hope. Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot are each poised to burst on to the major league stage this coming season, while Alex Dickerson and Travis Jankowski have proven to be sufficient in center and left.
Besides these four, there is one more outfielder listed on the depth chart. 27-year-old Jabari Blash split 2016 in San Diego and AAA El Paso. In 38 games at the major league level, Blash struggled, hitting just .169. In a larger sample size in El Paso though, the native of the Virgin Islands was much more productive, hitting .260.
While Blash has made significant strides throughout his seven year career, he is entering his prime with an uncertain major league future. This offseason is critical in the outfielder’s development, but his time in the Dominican Republic’s winter league has been a bit rocky.
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Of course, Blash could still be feeling the effects of a middle finger strain which ended his 2016 campaign. But with Spring Training quickly approaching, even restored health won’t guarantee a spot on the major league roster out of the gate.
The other problem for Blash is that he is not a very versatile outfielder. Playing in four games in left, and 18 in right, the 29th round draft pick is not the utility player a team would want in a fifth outfielder.
Still, Blash is an extremely valuable asset to have in the organization. Depth is always critical, since a major league team will rarely go an entire season without multiple injuries to outfielders. Blash provides the club with this depth if nothing else, as he has proven that he can play in right field if needed.
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There are some positions for fans to look forward to in 2017, and the outfield is certainly one of them. With exciting young players in Renfroe and Margot, as well as other capable options in Dickerson and Jankowski, this group is ready to shine. Though there isn’t a clear place for Blash to fit in, the 27-year-old can be trusted if needed.