Kyle Blanks, on his way to PETCO Park …
Here’s the story I’ve been working on since early this morning (two cups of coffee in already) on top prospect Kyle Blanks, who will be at PETCO Park tonight for the start of a three-game set against the Oakland A’s.
SAN DIEGO – Kyle Blanks, considered the Padres top prospect, is on his way to PETCO Park.
Blanks, a first baseman and outfielder with Triple-A Portland, is expected to have his contract purchased by the Padres on Friday when he will be added to the 40-man roster.
The left-handed heavy Padres open a three-game series against the Oakland A’s on Friday and will be facing three left-handed starting pitchers in the series. The Padres are hitting .215 as a team against left-handers this season.
Blanks, the Padres 2008 Minor League Player of the Year and Texas League Player of the Year, is a right-handed hitter and was hitting .283 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs for Portland.
Blanks, in his first season at the Triple-A level, has a .393 on-base percentage and is hitting .370 in June. He hit his 12th home run of the season on Thursday for the Beavers.
Blanks has mostly played first base this season but has made 15 starts in left field. The decision to have him take fly balls in the outfield in Portland was made late in Spring Training as Kevin Towers, the general manager of the Padres, wanted to see if Blanks took to the position after he arrived in Portland.
All-Star and Gold Glove winner Adrian Gonzalez currently plays first base for the Padres and Towers has said he’s not on the trading block.
The move wasn’t unlike the one Chase Headley made a year ago, when the third baseman was moved to the outfield. Headley, though, had the benefit of Spring Training in 2008 to learn the position before he was recalled from Portland by the Padres in June.
Several current members of the Padres who have played with Blanks this season say that the 6-foot-6, 285 pound Blanks held his own in the outfield, broke well on balls, both in front of him and behind him. Many said Blanks athleticism made learning a new position easier.
Scoring runs has been a struggle for the Padres of late, scoring one run over 29 innings during a stretch that ended on Wednesday.