Position: Middle Infielder
Batting Order Position: Bench (maybe)
Opening Day Age: 26
Uniform Number: 13
Why don't the Cubs give this youngster a chance to start?: For one, he's not really a youngster anymore. He's going to be 26 soon and he made his major league debut six years ago with the Royals. He's pretty much shown that he isn't a great hitter in both the minor and major leagues. He doesn't have any power and he doesn't get on base enough to make up for that.
He also has made an awful lot of errors while playing shortstop in the minors. I'm not good with fielding metrics, so I won't even try, but he topped twenty errors in the minors four times (basically every year he played even close to a full slate of games), which leads me to believe he may not be the fielding wizard we seem to have given him credit for in his short time with the Cubs.
Can he provide rehab advice to Aramis Ramirez and Ted Lilly?: Yes.
Blanco underwent serious shoulder surgery to repair his torn left labrum while he was with the Kansas City Royals in 2006. He had the surgery in September and was still unable to swing a bat from the right side the following Spring. This information has little to do with Blanco's abilities right now, but it scares the hell out of me when considering both Lilly and Ramirez have recent shoulder issues.
Baseball-Reference.com's Most Similar Batter: None (too small a sample size)
Why We Might Like Him:
- Based on what we saw last season on plays like this, he seems to be a slick fielder and could serve well as a late-inning replacement for Fontenot/Baker at second and give Theriot an occasional day off at shortstop.
- Cubs fans love scrappy middle infielders that aren't actually all that good.
- He helped us get through our Hank White withdrawal last year.
- We like him a little too much and his OPS in the .600s is going to be like a sobering slap in the face this season.
- He might also not be as good a fielder as we think (though it will help that he should be throwing to Derrek Lee instead of guys like Hoffpauir in the minors).
What the Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
- Hire Jim Essian - "...he’d look like Babe Fucking Ruth next to Miles. He can also cover shortstop, second, and third. Also, this team has not made the playoffs under Lou Piniella WITHOUT a player named Blanco on the roster. Think about it."
- Waxpaperbeercup - "The fans are wishing upon young players like Jake Fox, Andres Blanco, Sam Fuld, Micah Hoffpauir and Bobby Scales like they are going to carry this team to the playoffs. LMAO. The reason the fans are doing this is because the veterans have been so bad. It really reminds me of the days when Cub fans longed to see more of Ozzie Timmons, Kevin Roberson or Derrick White."
- Goat Riders of the Apocalypse - "...you go out to the Fielding Bible and some of the other Bill James-esque publications, and you find that defensively there is very little difference between Blanco and Theriot at shortstop, as far as the statistics go. Blanco would NOT save us bushels of runs over Theriot."
- Desipio - "If Miles, Fontenot and Baker aren’t going to hit (and they’re aren’t) you might as well play Blanco, since he has a skill that the Cubs need. He’s a great defensive player. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to play him at short every day and move Theriot to second. I don’t think that will happen, and this offseason the Cubs have to find a second baseman who can actually play. It’s not Fontenot, Miles, Baker or Blanco, either."