Question Time: What do we make of Jabari Blash?

Question Time: What do we make of Jabari Blash?

A: Wait and see ... but ... whoa!

 

How do we begin to assess the two months that Jabari Blash (Watch List) has set in front of us?

In just 29 games (he missed more than two weeks due to injury), and 122 plate appearances, he has 11 home runs and a verrrrrry innnnnnteresting .311/.385/.717 batting line.

+++

How does that work out math-wise?

If you remember your multiplication tables, 11 x 11 = 121.  So he's pretty darn close to one home run in every 11 plate appearances.  In percent terms, that's a hair over 9.0%.

+++

Can we put that HR rate in context?

Easy.  It's a 'roid rate.  I mean that in a good way.

It's not a Babe Ruth rate (6.7%) or a Giancarlo Stanton rate (6.1%), it's a rate that normal folks don't achieve.

This year's leader in the majors so far is Chris Davis at 7.5%.  Last year it was Stanton at 7.4%.  Ryan Howard in 2006 is the only post-Bonds hitter to pass 8.0% (he was 8.2% that year).

So you go back to '01: Bonds 11.0%; Sosa 9.0%

'99: McGwire 9.8%; Sosa 8.9%

'98: McGwire 10.3%; Sosa 9.1%

You get my drift.  It is not a normal thing to see people hitting baseballs out of the park at a 9.0% rate without "help."

+++

Are you accusing Blash?

No.  Trying to show how unusual his stats are.  [Now, if he keeps it up all season ... it would cross my mind.  He went to junior college in Miami.]

+++

But it's the California League ... doesn't everyone hit like crazy?

Yes, but ...

Just like in the majors, no one else in the Cal League is over 7.5%.  Most teams are led in that category by guys in the high-4% or 5% range.

There are more guys in the Cal League hitting them out at a 5% clip, but no one else is hitting like Blash.

+++

But High Desert is the hitting-est park in a hitting league, isn't it?

Yes, but ...

During the Mariner encampment at Adelanto, only two guys that I've found have gone over 6%.  The late Greg Halman in 2008 at 6.7% and Steven Proscia in a short stint in 2011 at 6.3%.  Proscia came back the next year and only managed 5.1%.  Even one-dimensional masher Carlos Peguero only reached 5.7% in his High Desert time.

And ...

While Blash is at a "not-even-'roided-Bonds" 11.3% at home, he has a still-epic a 6.7% rate on the road.

+++

So Blash is on a truly amazing hot streak, but what does it all mean?

Not a lot ... yet.

Blash has had stretches before when he would be the most interesting player in the system for about a month, and then he'd go back to a relatively light-hitting guy who strikes out a lot and can't play center field.

Looking back at his monthly splits, there's a lot of bouncing back and forth among .700 OPS months, .900 OPS months, .800 OPS months, etc.  In other words, if you thought he'd made the Great Leap Forward before (like, maybe, July-August 2011, when he had 13 doubles, 3 triples, 10 HR and 21 walks over a two-month span), it didn't happen (.433 SLG and 134 strikeouts the next year at Clinton).

And his K% remains stubbornly high.  That's not insurmountable (see, e.g., Stanton), but he needs those dingers to make it work.

If he can keep them coming, and retain his very nice walk rate (10.7% this year), then we might have something.

But we've said that before.