The Case for Jabari Blash to Open the Season with Padres

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Last spring, Padres’ fans were having this conversation:

Is Jabari Blash a serviceable player at the big league level?

Well this spring, it turns out we are having that same conversation, and I am here to make the case for Jabari Blash to make the opening day roster for the 2017 San Diego Padres. #Blashtoff is gaining momentum.

We all know this season is a rebuilding year for the Padres, as most of the building blocks are still in the developmental stages of their careers.

Players like Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Carlos Asuaje are no doubt talented, but will need time to adjust to the level of play in the majors.

That process could, in reality, take a couple of seasons, especially when we take into consideration the fact that front office wants to start their service time as late as possible. Sending Margot to the minors to begin the season is looking like a reasonable proposition for a team that is built to win in a couple of years, not presently.

So if Margot begins in the PCL, that would leave the big league club with a competition for the fourth outfielder spot, and I think that Jabari Blash makes the most sense right now for the Friars.

First of all, he’s been off to a hot start in spring training games. This week, he has three home runs and was leading the Cactus League in RBI. He has also been around the club for a year now and knows exactly what Andy Green wants from his players. Another factor which I think is important is that he’s played in Petco Park before. Petco is famous for being one of the most spacious outfields in the league and Blash is somewhat familiar with it. He is athletic enough to play either corner outfield position, which is important in this day and age of the game.

Last season, Blash had created some buzz, coming out of the spring showcasing his power. I think that a solid argument could be made that the Padres didn’t gave him much of a shot in the 2016 season, as he only got 71 at bats with the big league team before being sent back to Triple-A after a deal was worked out with the Seattle Mariners, who owned his rights.

In the minors, he smashed 23 extra bases in 177 at bats. I know that the PCL tends to be a hitter’s paradise, and that those stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but I still think that production warrants a look with the big league club. At this point, the club does not have much to lose. They need to find players and Blash could emerge if he is able to develop.

Look, at the end of the day, we know who the outfielders of the future are for this club, but we also know that 2017 is a season when the Padres can afford to look at a lot of players. Jabari Blash will win a spot on this team if he continues to hit like he is. He will also be in the lineup on opening day as the Padres face Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. His right-handed bat will surely come in handy.

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