Jackson Generals' Director of Media Relations Chris Harris (@CHarris731 on Twitter, someone you should definitely be following) announced in a press release today that outfielder Jabari Blash has been promoted to Triple-A Tacoma. The 24-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder -- who was a Northwest League All-Star with Everett back in 2011 but who had some issues with consistency as a pro overall -- had seemingly really come into his own since being promoted to Jackson last August, and that recent improvement now has him just one step from the Major Leagues.
Blash, who was drafted three times as an amateur, signed with the Mariners back in 2010 after they used their 8th round pick on the native of the Virgin Islands. He has a combination of power and patience that isn't common and also has some athleticism, which led to him coming in at No. 21 in our latest edition of the Top-50 Mariners' prospect countdown. He's hit 64 home runs, walked 221 times and checked in with a 9.6% extra base hit rate throughout the 378 games of his minor league career, but since arriving in the Southern League -- a tough place to hit, and a level that often gives many prospects trouble -- Blash has hit .287/.430/.569 in 54 games, with an 18.3% walk rate and 10.0% extra base hit rate. There is still some swing and miss in his game, but the 6-foot-5 Blash has trimmed his strikeout rate to a personal best 21.8% so far in 2014.
Blash's power rates among the best in the entire organization for Seattle, but the steps forward he's made in the last several months have more to do with another part of his game. "He's a smart hitter," Mariners minor league field coordinator Jack Howell told me earlier this year, "and he started to learn to set up patterns and took advantage of that knowledge."
That development, after just two months in Double-A, has Blash moving on. He will join Tacoma in Sacramento and likely immediately find himself in the middle of the Rainiers' lineup. And as the Mariners search for answers in the outfield at the big league level, Jabari won't be far off from possibly getting a chance in Seattle this season, too.
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