Monday, March 07, 2005

Joe Blanton Report

Joe Blanton, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Drafted 24th Overall, 2002 Draft, Kentucky
Bats R/Throws R
24 YO, 6'2", 220 lbs

After slicing and dicing Midwest League and Texas League hitters, I thought his 3 pitch arsenal was a route to stardom. Now I'm not sure. Funny things happen in the development of a pitcher. They're pretty unpredictable. For right now, Blanton looks like a mid-rotation workhorse.

2004 Sacramento: 4.19 ERA, 143 K, 34 BB, 199 H, 13 HR, 176 IP
2004 Oakland: .562 ERA, 6 K, 2 BB, 6 H, 1 HR, 8 IP
mL Career: 3.33 ERA, 338 K, 68 BB, 349 H, 21 HR, 365 IP

Blanton is a virtual lock for the A's rotation with Zito, Harden, Dan Meyer and Dan Haren. That rotation will be better than most mainstream analysts and fans expect. They'll be helped by a good defense and an improving bullpen.

Blanton is one of the A's more impressive player development successes. Zito, Mulder, and Hudson spent a relatively small amount of time in the minor leagues and really only needed some tinkering and some polish. Blanton needed more instruction and more mechanical work. He's the point where his command and his stuff are MUCH better than they were when he was drafted.

Blanton's control is excellent. He isn't going to hurt himself with walks. He needs to miss more bats than he did in 2004 though. He has the stuff to accomplish that goal. With a low to mid 90's fastball with some sink in it, a nice slider, and a curve, his stats should be better than they were last year.

ETA: Opening Day
4 Stars



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