Mariners News: M’s Lose Jabari Blash in Rule 5 Draft


The Mariners will regret letting Jabari Blash walk out the door.

The Oakland A’s selected 26-year-old outfielder Jabari Blash in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday. He was then shipped to the San Diego Padres to complete the Yonder Alonso trade. Despite his advanced age, Blash was considered amongst the better prospects in the Seattle Mariners organization.

Originally picked in the 8th round of the 2010 draft by the Mariners, Blash has steadily progressed through the minor leagues. He made his professional debut with the Pulaski Mariners of the Appalachian League in 2010. Blash hit .266 with 5 home runs and 20 RBI in 32 games.

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Blash split the 2011 season between the Everett AquaSox of the Northwest League and the Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League. Blash excelled in Everett, posting a .292/.393/.574 slash line while clubbing 11 home runs and driving in 43 runs across 57 games. He did not fare quite so well in Clinton, hitting just .218 with 3 home runs and 13 RBI in 42 games.

The Virgin Islands product spent the entire 2012 season with the LumberKings. Blash showed signs of improvement, posting a .245 batting average with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in 113 games. He registered a .355 on base percentage and slugged .433 through 471 plate appearances.

In 2013, the Mariners opted to send Blash to their High-A affiliate in High Desert. He tore up the California League, hitting .258 with 16 home runs, 53 RBI and 14 steals before earning a midseason promotion to AA. Blash continued to dominate at the plate with the Jackson Generals, posting a .309 batting average with 9 home runs and 21 RBI across 29 games.

August 10, 2015; Tacoma, WA, USA; Jabari Blash hitting for the Tacoma Rainiers during their game at Cheney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Helberg

Blash split the 2014 season between the Generals and the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. He failed to replicate his success from the previous year, and was suspended by MLB for a positive drug test. Blash hit a combined .221 with 18 home runs and 59 RBI across 82 games.

The jury was still out on Blash when the 2015 season began, but he quickly quieted the skeptics by posting remarkable offensive numbers. He once again spent time in Jackson and Tacoma, but this time around he lived up to the hype. Blash hit .271 on the season with 32 home runs, 81 RBI and 8 stolen bases. He also registered an impressive .370 on base percentage and slugged .576 across 476 at bats.

Blash has put together a very impressive resume in the minor-leagues. Through 6 seasons, he is hitting .256 with 109 home runs, 340 RBI and 58 stolen bases. Blash has posted a .369 on base percentage and slugged an even .500 during his career. There is no question Blash’s offensive skill set could have been useful in Seattle

Blash has experience playing left and right field in the minor-leagues. He saw the bulk of his time in right field last season with the Rainiers. Blash tallied 5 outfield assists and committed 3 errors in 319.1 innings. He is unlikely to ever provide Gold Glove caliber defense, but Blash can hold his own in left field.

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Despite Jabari Blash’s phenomenal numbers in 2015, Dipoto inexplicably decided to leave him off the M’s 40-man roster. This exposed him to the Rule 5 Draft, and his selection was a surprise to no one. Blash was picked during the Major League phase, so there is a chance he could be returned to the Mariners. If Blash is removed from the Padres’ 25-man roster at any time in 2016, he will be offered back to the M’s for $25,000.

Personally, I am hoping Blash gets off to a rough start in San Diego and finds his way back to the Mariners. FanGraphs ran a feature on him this past August in which they compared his offensive upside to that of Mark McGwire and Paul Goldschmidt. Those are lofty comparisons, but his combination of power and speed is a rare.

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Anybody who saw the 6’5/225lb outfielder this past season in Tacoma knows how dangerous he is in the batters box. Allowing Blash to leave for nothing makes no sense to me, but obviously he was never in Dipoto’s plan. I have a funny feeling the Mariners will regret their decision to leave Blash off the 40-man roster.