Kyle Nathaniel Blanks
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 6", Weight 285 lb.
- School Yavapai Community College
- High School Moriarty High School
- Debut June 19, 2009
Kyle Blanks is an outfielder/first baseman who began his professional career in the San Diego Padres organization. He made his debut with the team in 2009, hitting .250/.355/.514, with 9 doubles and 10 homers in 54 games at age 22. It was a major achievement to reach the majors that quickly after having been a 42nd round draft choice as a draft-and-follow in the 2004 amateur draft. Area scout Jake Wilson saw Blanks in high school, then signed him before the next year's draft for $260,000 after he hit .440 in the wood bat Arizona Community College Athletic Conference in 2005.
Blanks distinguished himself by topping 20 homers and 100 RBI in both 2007, at Class A Lake Elsinore and 2008 at AA San Antonio in 2008. After his promising beginning in the majors, he slipped badly in 2010, posting a measly .157 average in 33 games after being the starting left fielder on Opening Day. An injury was behind much of his trouble, and he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on June 30th, ending his season.
Needing to prove himself all over again, Blanks was sent back down to San Antonio to start 2011. He hit .282 in 44 games, but with 16 doubles. He was then promoted to the AAA Tucson Padres and tore the cover off the ball. In 35 games, he slugged .716, thanks to 12 doubles and 11 homers, in addition to a .351 batting average. When top prospect Anthony Rizzo, who had passed him in the organizational depth chart, struggled in his first taste of major league ball with the Padres, hitting only .143, Blanks was called back to San Diego to take his place on July 22nd. He finished the season in San Diego, playing 55 games, but hit only .229, with 7 homers and 16 RBI.
Having lost his starting job at first base, Blanks began the 2012 season as a back-up outfielder for the Padres. Over the season's first two weeks, he played only 4 games, going 1 for 5, then landed on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Further tests revealed a torn labrum muscle and he had to undergo season-ending surgery. In spite of the missed time, he made the Padres as a back-up outfielder/first baseman in 2013 and did relatively well in the early going. He was hitting .273 with 3 homers when the team decided to send him to AAA on June 5th, but before he could suit up there, he was called back to San Diego as 1B Yonder Alonso had to go on the disabled list. Blanks took over as the starter and hit very well, getting 4 homers and 10 RBI in his first 10 games. In his 10th game on June 16th, he hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th against David Hernandez of the Arizona Diamondbacks to give San Diego a 4-1 win, its sixth in a row at that point.