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Nate Freiman or Kyle Blanks?

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With Kyle Blanks on a rehab assignment in Sacramento, the A’s have a minor roster decision coming up. They have to decide who gets the spare LHP at-bats at first base: Nate Freiman or Kyle Blanks. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

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With Kyle Blanks on a rehab assignment in Sacramento, the A's have a minor roster decision coming up. They have to decide who gets the spare LHP at-bats at first base: Nate Freiman or Kyle Blanks. Let's look at the pros and cons of each.

Nate Freiman

Pros:

Freiman is killing the ball. After last night's power surge, Freiman has a 135 wRC+ with 4 HRs in 50 Pas. Unlike Blanks, his numbers aren't blown up by BABIP (.241).

Freiman owns the advantage career-wise against LHP. Freiman's career 133 wRC+ against LHP bests Blanks' 113.

Attitude. Gotta love Freiman's attitude out there. He gives it everything he's got. Freiman is also taller, for what that is worth.

Cons:

Pretty much everything else. Blanks is a much better defender and baserunner.

Kyle Blanks

Pros:

Blanks was killing the ball before he got hurt. It's true, in 56 PA Blanks amassed a 171 wRC+. That's pretty good.

Blanks can draw a walk. Of the two, Blanks is more likely to get a free pass. So that's nice.

Defense. Blanks looks to be the better first-baseman by a decent margin. He can also play outfield, although he is probably 6th in line in terms of outfield defense.

Cons:

Blanks was swinging a magically lucky bat before he got hurt. Blanks was getting pretty fortunate in his limited time with the A's with a .414 BABIP. Replace that with his career BABIP of .310 and you get a slash line of .267/.344/.422. Still good, but a significant drop. Blanks was also wearing out the turf with a 53% GB rate. Somehow he posted a .429 AVG on those grounders including three infield hits. So be prepared for some regression with Blanks.

Blanks is injury prone. While not quite a Nomar Garciaparra, Blanks has had difficulty staying on the field. He is even one of the few position players to require Tommy John surgery.

So there. Doesn't look like either will be responsible for holding off the Angels. But who would you go with if you were Billy Beane?