San Diego Padres' Kyle Blanks Powering Up

By Thom Tsang
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at Kyle Blanks‘ gargantuan 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame swing the baseball bat, you’d almost have to wonder just how it is that not every ball he hits ends up being a home run.

Well, you don’t even have to wonder anymore — because that’s pretty much just what’s happening these days.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad there, but even with a lineup that now features a healthy Chase Headley and Cameron Maybin, the San Diego Padres simply have not been able to keep Blanks’ bat out of the lineup. After all, with three homers in his last six contests, including two in a row on Friday and Saturday, the 26-year-old is hitting just about as well as anyone on the team.

Though his 1-for-4 afternoon of work on Sunday did not include a home run, it did continue an eight-game hitting streak that’s see Blanks become one of the hottest hitters in the game. He’d posted a .429/.467/.857 slash line over 30 PA in June prior to play on Sunday, and his single against Matt Belisle of the Colorado Rockies in this afternoon’s contest has now boosted his season numbers to a nifty .298/.383/.518 over 132 PA.

That, by the way, easily gives him the team lead in OPS with a .901 mark  and an incredible 158 wRC+ … which, if he’d qualified, would have put him in a tie with Shin Shoo Choo for seventh in the entire league heading into play on Sunday.

Just let that one sink in for a moment.

Whether it’s his 11.6 percent swinging strike rate, 75.9 percent contact rate and 20.7 percent line drive rate — just all career-bests, that’s all — everything is trending in the right direction for this oft-injured former top prospect to have a breakout season in 2013 the way he was supposed after he’d broke into the league with 10 homers in 172 PA all the way back in 2009.

Of course, that’ll simply mean that the Padres might just have another lineup headache on their hands after Yonder Alonso returns from being out with a broken hand in a month or so; but you know, I think this is just the kind of problem that they’d like Blanks to continue causing.

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