Prospect Interview: Gigantor, Kyle Blanks

FORT WAYNE - Gigantor was an old Japanese animated series from the 1960's set in the year 2000. In the cartoon, 12 year-old Jimmy Sparks uses the world's biggest robot to crush crime all around the world.

In 2006, Wizards manager Randy Ready uses Gigantor, a.k.a. Kyle Blanks his 6-foot-6, 285-pounds, first baseman/DH to crush the Midwest League.

Blanks was 42nd round pick of the Padres in the 2004 draft out of Moriarty High School in Edgewood, New Mexico, a small city just outside of Albuquerque. At Moriarty High School Blanks led the Pintos to three consecutive top three finishes in the state's 4A tournament while hitting .551 his junior year and .486 in his final season.

Instead of signing with the Padres Blanks elected to attend Yavapai Community College in Prescott, Arizona, which is the only junior college to play in a wooden bat conference, where Blanks had a monster season. At Yavapai Blanks was the co-Arizona Community College Athletic Association player of the year leading the ACCAC in batting (.440), hits (85) and RBIs (47).

In his first season with the Padres he posted a good overall season hitting .299/.420/.500, but caught everyone's attention, after you noticed his size with an opening month of .414 with 5 home runs in his first 7 games.

So far this season Blanks has continued where he left off, making the Midwest League All Star team and hitting .324 for April and .328 in May before slumping this month. He splits time with the Padres other 19-year old phenom Daryl Jones at first base and DH.

What truly grabs ones attention about Blanks is his size and the athleticism that accompanies it. He's a good runner and has been solid defensively at first base for the Wizards. The Padres would probably like to see him deposit a few more ball over the fence, but the sky is really the limit with Kyle.

We've been doing some research on you, and there are some really parts of your background that sounds like it came out some sort of comic book. Is it true at 6–foot-6, 285-pounds, you played shortstop in high school?

Kyle Blanks: No, it was only parts of my senior year, not everyday.

So you were playing first base and shortstop?

Kyle Blanks: ..and pitcher.

You got drafted by the Padres and then you decided to go to Yavapai Community College in Arizona. What made you decide to go there?

Kyle Blanks: They gave me a good scholarship, a lot of guys from New Mexico had gone there before. My summer coach helped me get the scholarship and a lot of guys they set me up with on the recruiting trip seemed pretty cool. I liked the coaches, a lot of good factors..

It is also one of the very few community colleges that is a wood bat league, that must have been a factor as well?

Kyle Blanks: It was a big selling point.

Was it a big advantage for you which eased your adjustment to pro ball was that you got to play with guys in college first before having to face the pros with a wooden bat? So the adjustment wasn't as great?

Kyle Blanks: Yeah, it did help me out a lot. Knowing what to expect with a wood bat, lot fewer runs and you have to refine your hitting game a lot, than you would with a metal bat in high school/college.

In the Arizona League last month you had a big first month then things kind of slowed down a little. What happened?

Kyle Blanks: Just a lot of pitchers made adjustments and I didn't. I got it back on a little bit at the end of the year. A lot of adjustments were made to me pitching wise and I didn't make the counter moves.

You seem to take a lot of pitches now. It seems you are going to take your pitches and not go outside the zone and try to force things?

Kyle Blanks: Seeing a lot of pitches helps you get a better recognition of your strike zone and having an idea of what pitches that you can hit better than others. Also getting walks really helps the team more.

The one thing if you have to nitpick in your stats is that you don't have quite as many home runs as one would assume a guy of your size would have. Is it a case of learning what pitches you can turn on and pull? Does it take a while to learn how to do that?

Kyle Blanks: Well I've never considered myself a home run hitter. I hit 10 in college and other than that had 5 each year in high school. I've never really exploded with home runs. I've always been more of a doubles hitter.

All of you guys always say you are just trying to hit the ball hard and say that you get in trouble when you are trying to hit home runs.

Kyle Blanks: Exactly. Home runs just kind of happen when everything goes right. In the gaps is where you want to be.

Everyone talks about how well you move and run, has there been any discussion of moving you to the outfield so you could have more opportunities to play in the majors?

Kyle Blanks: Last year I played a little outfield. Basically I'm just trying to stay as limber as possible in case I get that opportunity.

Finally, there has been a whole bunch of nicknames about you because of your size "Big Nasty" and the one we used last year "Gigantor". That sounded like a better nickname than "Big Nasty".

Kyle Blanks: "Big Nasty" that was just in high school.

So you are ok with "Gigantor", you can live with that?

Kyle Blanks: Oh yeah. [big smile]

Contact senior writer John Conniff at

Read our latest coverage of the San Diego Padres' minor league system at

MadFriars Top Stories