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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-27, Gregor Blanco

He brings two World Series rings to spring training, at the very least...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Media Day Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 27: Gregor Blanco

  • Date of birth: December 24, 1983
  • Ht/Wt: 5’11”, 175 lbs
  • Position: Outfielder
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 106 games, 274 PA, .224/.309/.311, 1 HR, 18 RBI
  • SnakePit Rating: 4.88 [pattern of votes below]

Blanco brings more experience to spring training than any other non-roster invitee, having appeared in 902 major-league games, and was an integral part of both 2012 and 2014 World Series winning Giants’ teams, appearing 141 & 146 times respectively. He has never been a great player, with a career high in bWAR of 2.3 in 2013. But he was well-liked by both fans and team-mates in San Francisco, not least for saving Matt Cain’s perfect game in June 2012. Cain said of him, “Blanco has such a quiet energy about himself and he brings a lot to a team because he connects so well with everyone. The guys are going to miss his attitude on the field and in the clubhouse.”

He suffered a very sharp fall-off last season, particularly on offense, where his OPS dropped 161 points from the 2015 figure. [Perhaps related: Blanco was on the disabled list twice in 2015 for concussion-related issues, including once as the result of running into a Brandon Belt warm-up toss] Having turned 33 on Christmas Eve, time is not on his side. However, a left-handed bat with positional flexibility (he started double-digit games at all three OF positions for the Giants last year) may still have some use. He’s getting a good look in spring training so far, having appeared in six of 10 Cactus League games through yesterday, though took until Sunday to get his first hit.

His defense has slipped a little over the past couple of years, with the fielding metrics regarding him as below average in CF and RF, but still better than most in left. How long he sticks around this pre-season may also depend on what approach Torey Lovullo wants to take to roster construction, and what he’s looking for from the fourth outfield spot. He’s not going to out-power some of the other left-handed candidates, with just 21 homers in over 2,500 career AB. On the other hand, he is better than most at taking a walk, with a career rate of 11.1% (MLB average = 8.2%), and that did only dip slightly (10.6%) during his disappointing last year.

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