During Spring Training, fans were introduced to one of the more under-the-radar prospects in the organization in outfielder Bligh Madris.
A career Minor Leaguer, Madris has had a solid run in professional baseball, posting a slash line of .261/.331/.405 with 36 home runs and 212 RBI. His best season came this year, so far, as he’s batting .289 with five home runs, a pair of triples and 17 RBI.
Prior to this year, his best season was his first in pro ball as a member of the West Virginia Blackbears when they were the Class A short season affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. That year, where he slashed .270/.344/.429.
The main issue with Madris is considering where you would play him if he was promoted to the Pirates. He’s currently rostered as an outfielder with a primary focus on right field. However, the Indianapolis Indians have adopted the current trend of experimenting with secondary positions to possibly expand his skill-sets.
On June 12, the Indians started Madris at first base, marking the first time he played that position in his professional career. In that start, he made six put-outs on eight total chances with two assists and, the best stat of the night: zero errors.
In addition, he was involved in two double plays on the night.
It wasn’t his night offensively, though, as he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. This could be a result of the stress of playing a new position for the first time, however.
If Madris could pan out as a 1B/OF/DH type of player, he could be poised for a long-term promotion in Pittsburgh, as the current depth at first is thin. Mix that in with a struggling Mason Martin, who’s batting average dipped over the course of the season to .220, this is a grand opportunity for him to take hold of an anemic position within the organization.
Keep in mind that this is an experimental trial and it could flop at any time, but at this point, there could only be more good than bad in trying him out at first.