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SALT LAKE CITY — Jabari Blash, 28, has been around major and minor-league baseball for a while, but one part of his game is new: his batting stance.
The new stance originated in Mexico during the offseason.
“I wanted to implement a leg kick into my stance and I wanted to get the ball in the air a little bit more, so I went over to Mexico this offseason to work on it,” Blash said.
“And honestly, it was something that just happened, you know, it was something that just felt good and something that I kept tweaking, and this is what I end up with.”
Bees manager Keith Johnson believes that doing what works best for a player is a key to a swing.
“As a baseball player, our whole goal is to figure out our swing and what works for us and our body type and our body and all that,” Johnson said. “And I think Jabari has a really good feel for his swing at the present time and what he’s trying to do at the plate, and he’s doing a great job with it.”
Blash’s teammates like to joke about the unique stance.
“I think they have fun with it, just about every day,” Blash said.
The new stance has worked extremely well for Blash, as he is near the top of the charts in essentially every batting category. Blash leads the league in home runs with nine and total bases with 54. He is second in the league in RBIs, OBP, SLG and OPS.
He is doing all of this while batting .389, which is good enough for fourth in the league.
This is especially impressive, as in the past Blash struggled with his batting average, batting only .200 during his 99-game stint with the San Diego Padres in 2016 and 2017.
“Right now I’m in a position where I can only work and continue to do as good as I can and just have fun with these guys (his teammates) right now,” Blash said. “I think that the stance probably does have a little bit to do with the change in the stats over the year.”
Blash believes that the stance is not the only thing helping him play so well right now.
“I think the stance definitely attributes to the success a little bit, but honestly it’s been a fun lineup you know,” Blash said. “There’s a lot of guys around me in the lineup that can hit as well, and it’s just been fun, and hitting is contagious; that’s how baseball goes. So, right now the team’s hot and I think we’re all hot at once, and it’s definitely been fun.”
The hot streak isn’t happening by chance; it’s also happening because of Blash’s preparation and hard work.
“He’s put in a lot of work; obviously he’s been doing a great job for us, putting up a lot of numbers, but it even goes beyond that,” Johnson said. “He’s pretty diligent about his work, about preparing himself for the games, and he has a really good idea of what he’s trying to accomplish out there.”
Spring training also helped Blash develop and prepare him for this upcoming season.
“The things he’s doing at the plate, showing some consistency with, all throughout spring training he stuck with it, he stuck with it, and now he’s starting to see the fruits of his labor,” Johnson said.
Blash hit two home runs against the Albuquerque Isotopes on Saturday and followed it up by hitting another home run Monday.
“He has immense power,” Johnson said. “You know it’s big power, with his swing he can mis-hit balls and it can still go out of the ballpark, so it’s just a matter of him staying in a zone and understanding what he can handle and not missing those pitches, and he’s doing a really good job of that right now."
The unique stance and power of Blash is turning some heads. We’ll see if his current hot streak will get him called up to the major leagues.