Monday, January 8, 2018

With Jabari Blash, the Yankees could put out the biggest outfield in history

Aside from enjoying his wonderful name - (say it fast three times: Jahbareeblash Jahbareeblash Jahbareeblash!) - the Yankiverse has given little thought to Jabari Blash, the throw-in from San Diego in the recent Chase Headley "no-touch-back" salary dump. 

This is an outrage. Jabari Blash deserves attention, because he could make history. Unless Dave Kingman, Daryl Strawberry and Andre the Giant ever appeared together in the Mets outfield, the 2018 Yankees could conceivably play the largest threesome - I'm talking nearly 800 pounds of grade A MLB beef - in baseball history. (Note: I'm not doing research on this because I still have a little pride; but seriously, what other OF comes close?) Imagine:

RF Aaron Judge, 6'7", 270
CF Jabari Blash, 6'5", 235
LF Giancarlo Stanton, 6'6", 245 

(Of course, we can stick Dellin Betances in center - 6'8", 265 - and CC Sabathia in left - 6'6", 300 - but that's cheating.)

Listen: The more you look at Blash, the more intriguing he becomes. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Blash is intriguing in a "could-have-breakout-season" sort of way. He's intriguing in a "it's-January-8-and-I'm-buried-under-a-shit-ton- of-snow" way. The guy in 2018 might not see one pitch outside of Scranton. Nevertheless, last night, he won my Golden Globe for "Best Intriguing Yankee Outfield Possibility that Nobody is Talking about As I Go to Bed." Sadly, I went to bed before his acceptance speech.

The 2018 Fangraphs ZIP projections have Blash hitting 25 HRs and driving in 70 runs in 440 at bats for the Yankees. (Stanton has 55, Judge 43, Sanchez 32) I don't put great stock in stats that need an entire website page to explain, but - hey - them's the numbers. (Baseball Reference projects Blash to hit 10 HRs and bat .227, over 306 plate appearances; what a bunch of Negative Nellies.) And yesterday, in the fine fan-powered site Yanks Go Yard, a blogger noted that Blash's Isolated Power (ISO) average in the minors was higher than Aaron Judge's between 2014 and 2016. (FYI: ISO measures extra base hits to hits, as batting average does hits to at bats.) 

Whenever somebody trots out a new stat, I'm reminded of Humphrey Bogart's line in the 1956 sportswriter movie The Harder They Fall: "Don't give me numbers; you can make those numbers jump through hoops." That said, Blash is intriguing in a "Jeez-it's-cold-outside-and-I-need-something-to-write-about" sort of way. Why? Several reasons:

1. He'll turn 29 this summer. It's his make-or-break year. Scranton is no place for 30 year old outfielders.

2. His problem is strikeouts, which means adjusting his swing. Maybe Yankee coaches can tweak him. (At this stage, he ought to be receptive to suggestions.)

3. With him, we can win almost any on-field brawl. (Looking at you, Detroit.) He's Shelley Duncan with a cooler name.

4. The largest outfield in MLB history, dammit! Do I have to repeat myself? Nearly 800 pounds of fly-catching beef. They better pad the walls - for the sake of the walls. 

A bit of reality: Last year for San Diego, Blash - who bats RH - appeared in 61 games, came up almost 200 times, hit 5 HRs and batted .213. He fanned one out of three times. Worst of all, playing only 18 games in LF, he made three errors - making him one of the statistical league leaders in errors for the season. Ugh. 

Jabariblash, Jabariblash, Jabariblash... wherever you are, Mr. B, something tells me you'll read this. Hey, lay off curves in the dirt, and have a nice day. At least you're not stuck beneath two feet of snow.


KD said...

Thought that was a character from one of the lesser Star Wars movies..

John M said...

And what would the Master's home run call be for Mr. Blash? A Blash blast?

Say that three times fast and you begin to realize that only the Master has the verbal chops to do it right.

HoraceClarke66 said...

A Blash Splash, I think.

Carl Weitz said...

Sterling would say " pitcher, so sorry, it's another blast by Jabari!"

Mustang said...

Glad we're getting more outfielders

ranger_lp said...

Maybe Blash would be the designated goon during a baseball fight...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Sorry to be so late with the Soccer v. Yankees report—I know you were all waiting on it with bated breath—but the elevator was out today.

That meant a walk five flights down, and five flights back up. In the cold. I had to make base camp on the third floor, and strike out for the summit only after absorbing sufficient oxygen.

Only to discover that...there is no separate story on either the Yankees or that foreign type of football. Mostly just more figure skating in the Times sports pages. And obits. Jerry Van Dyke died! 1928 Porters everywhere are in morning.

But there was only some wire service copy about Arsenal being out of the F.A. Cup—while I remain in my cups.

Thus it remains, Soccer 5, Yankees 0.

By the way, I was wrong to report yesterday that the Yankees have not even been mentioned by the Times this year. There WAS a reference in one article to how Brian Cashman is thought to have the most and the funniest GIFs by his fellow GMs.

We regret the error.

KD said...

Oooooooo! An oblique reference to My Mother the Car!!

My favorite scene was when Jerry's mother (the '28 Porter) decided he needed to be disciplined. She held him in place with her right front tire (on his foot) and spanked him with her passenger side door. My friends, they just don't do shows like that any more.

RIP Mr. Van Dyke. I hear the big guy digs banjo music.

el duque said...

A 1928 Porter, that's my mother dear,
She helps me through everything I do
And I'm so glad she's here.

(beep beep)

My mother the car.

(beep beep)

13bit said...

I just read that Crackhead Cash Might be toying with the idea of trading Dave Robertson for a couple of hits on the stem. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Anonymous said...

Keep the Toddfather at bay . . . . He would love the Nippon Ham Fighters!

Alphonso said...

Hey Hoss...

The USMNT just lost a prime young prospect forever He signed with Mexico instead of the US. Must be; he wants a chance to play in the world cup.

Instead, for example, of making a career of occasional appearances in " friendlies " vs. Montenegro and Moldova, held in Columbus, Ohio.

Anonymous said...




HoraceClarke66 said...

You're right, Alphonso.

And the US will never be truly competitive in soccer until you can convince the best athletes in the country to play it from junior high on, as opposed to...everything else.

Maybe that will happen someday, as more and more Americans come from other countries. But I'm not so sure about that. We had plenty of of peoples pouring into this country from other places from the 1840s-1924.

They didn't end up playing soccer. They started coming again after the immigration laws changed in 1965, over half-a-century ago.

Still no big pro soccer boom. Hmmm.