Padres non-roster invitee Jabari Blash has destroyed Spring Training pitching with six home runs in his attempt to secure a spot on the 25-man roster.
In the Padres’ meeting against the Cubs, Jabari Blash came to the plate at the top of the fourth inning, with the bases-loaded and dispatched his sixth home run of the season. He now has more Cactus League home runs this spring than Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, Travis Jankowski, Austin Hedges and Manuel Margot combined.
It is evident that the Padres need the power potential that Blash offers but will that translate into fantasy relevancy?
The 27-year-old outfielder hit .265 AVG in Spring Training (13-for-49) with 13 runs, 17 RBI and 22 strikeouts to eight walks.
He had a good spring last year as a Rule 5 pick and broke camp with the Padres, but hit .120 in his first 23 games. To be fair, he only started three of the 23 games, entering off the bench in the others. He was finally designated for assignment in May and had no problems back in Triple-A with 11 home runs and .929 OPS.
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With Margot and Jankowski, the Padres have two excellent defensive outfielders with very limited power. If Blash can bring his Spring Training/Triple-A production to the Major Leagues, the Padres will find him playing time.
Outfielder Alex Dickerson will start the season on the DL, so the expectation is that Blash will face lefties in a platoon with Jankowski.
Jankowski was one of the best defensive center fielders last year but offers very little offensive production with just 17 extra-base hits in 383 plate appearances last season.
If Blash hits, it will be difficult to keep his bat out of the Padres’ line.
Despite the likelihood of a platoon, Blash is pretty good against right-handed pitching. He posted a .792 OPS vs. RHP in Triple-A last season. The problem is that Jankowski cannot hit lefties. He had .398 OPS vs. LHP last season, and yes, I did have to double-check that. He slashed .155/.220/.179, so only Josh Reddick, now of the Astros, had a worse slugging percentage against left-handed pitching than Jankowski.
Blash is so under-the-radar that he does not have an ADP, so you can take him up with the last pick of your draft or pick him up off waivers. He could be a Quad-A player and be back in the minors before the end of April, or he could start the season swinging. The Padres are projected to be the lowest scoring team this season, so if Blash hits, he will play.