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Legends On Deck

A Bloop And A Blash – Exclusive Interview With Padres Slugger Jabari Blash

Spring Training.  A time when clubs showcase their young talent in hopes of finding missing pieces to increase their chances of winning.  The San Diego Padres are no strangers to young talent within their system.  With high expectations on top prospects like Manuel MargotAustin Hedges, and Hunter Renfroe, its easy for other contenders to be overshadowed.

Jabari Blash is in the middle of his second spring training with the Friars, making a drastic change from his first.  With his eye on the prize, Jabari hopes to start the regular season on the 25-man big league roster.  “It would be amazing” Blash said to me, adding “It would be nice to break with camp and have the opportunity to play at the major league level.”

Blash is grabbing the attention of the right people within the organization as well as the fans; boosting his batting average 70 points from last spring.  So far this spring, Jabari has not only matched some of his totals, but he has exceeded some as well in half the amount of games.

There are many factors that have contributed to his rising stock.

“I made a small adjustment.  I added a toe-tap in my stride. I’m more in time, I recognize pitches earlier than previously and it puts me in a good position to execute a good swing.”

This adjustment has proven to be effective, not only bolstering last spring’s .189 batting average to .258, but also has him tied with Yoenis Cespedes in home runs behind the likes of Bryce Harper.

Adding to his impressive offensive stats, Blash, who is typically a right fielder, disclosed that he has been taking reps in left and center field – adding to his versatility.

“I have had more reps in right, but if I put some work in, I think I can be just as good over there in left field and get the job done.”

This may be just what the Padres are looking for, especially due to the unfortunate injury to fellow outfielder Alex Dickerson who has been diagnosed with a “disc protrusion” and will be out for an undetermined amount of time.

Of the many excellent qualities to his game, Blash told me that he wants to play the field every day. “I would say I enjoy defense the most.  I can be the same player in the outfield every day regardless if I am swinging the bat or not.  I take pride going in the gaps and making some plays for my guys.”  This could be in part due to his emulation to Ken Griffey Jr. and his early comparisons to Jermaine Dye.  “When I think of myself, and think of somebody I want to emulate and be talked about in the same sentence especially the way he played defense it would probably be Ken Griffey Jr.”

The 2017 season is Blash’s time to shine as the Padres diamond-in-the-rough.  When he earns his playing time, Jabari will undoubtedly assist his teammates in bringing San Diego back to a winning caliber team.

“We have great fans, and once we start winning some games, the fans will come out, and PETCO Park will show her true colors.  We have one of the best ballparks and also the best atmosphere in baseball.”

On behlaf of everyone at Legends on Deck, I would like to wish Jabari Blash the best of luck in his endeavors in his pursuit to a long career in Major League Baseball.

 

Mike Duda

Mike Duda

Site Contributing Writer and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
Mike is from Albany, NY with a penchant for baseball and music. His favorite teams are the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres. In his spare time he plays guitar in various rock, jazz, and blues bands.
Mike Duda