Blackburn is having one of the best pitching seasons in the minors, as after another dominant outing on Monday night, he has a 2.55 ERA with a remarkable 137 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 123.1 innings.
The walk rate speaks to a big reason for his success, as pitchers with outstanding location can crush Low-A hitters, but while Blackburn is not a monster stuff guy, his 90-92 mph sinker is a special pitch because of both the control and the movement, as he has a groundball ratio of 2.30 right now while giving up just three home runs. He projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter, which might seem light based on the numbers, but is hardly an insult.
Others Of Note:
- Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. When he's on and throwing strikes, he's crazy great; 3.62 ERA but 137 strikeouts in 124.1 innings and .175 opponent's average.
- Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Angels (High-A Inland Empire): 2-for-4, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K. Has suddenly added a ton of walks to everything else he does well offensively; .292/.408/.483 in 55 games since promotion.
- C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (High-A Inland Empire): 4-for-6, 2 2B, 2 HR (26), 3 R, 5 RBI, K. Strange player to figure out as bat-only type with power but surprisingly little patience; .297/.332/.518 in 122 games.
- D.J. Davis, OF, Blue Jays (Rookie-level Bluefield): 2-for-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K, SB, CS. First-round pick has four multi-hit games in six Appy League starts; 9-for-23 (.391) since promotion.
- Delino DeShields, 2B, Astros (High-A Lancaster): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K, 2 SB. Sets an Astros system record with his 88th and 89th stolen bases of the year; .300/.391/.350 in first 10 Cal League games.
- Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Low-A Lakewood): 4-for-5, 2 2B, HR (14), 2 R, 3 RBI, K. Soon-to-be 20-year-old is hitting just .264/.325/.430 on the year, but has been among league's best performers in second half, with .327/.386/.533 line.
- Courtney Hawkins, OF, White Sox (Low-A Kannapolis): 4-for-5, 3 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB. 18-year-old seems just fine in a full-season league; .314/.385/.543 in nine Sally League games.
- Miles Head, 3B, Athletics (Double-A Midland): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, K. Recovering from slow Texas league start by going 9-for-16 with 16 total bases in last four games; .272/.344/.438 in 43 games.
- Melky Mesa, OF, Yankees (Triple-A Empire State): 3-for-4, HR (5), 2 R, RBI. Toolsy outfielder with horrible approach; five home runs in 76 International League at-bats for weird line of .250/.278/.513 in 21 games.
- Sean Nolin, LHP, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Upper-level debut for six-foot-five lefty with solid stuff, good location and a lot of angles.
- Ariel Ovando, OF, Astros (Rookie-level Greeneville): 2-for-2, 2 HR (6), 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB. 18-year-old Dominican has made big progress with that bat; .300/.354/.464 in 54 games.
- Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (High-A Rancho Cucamonga): 2-for-5, 2B, R, 3 RBI. 18-for-42 (.429) during 10-game hitting streak and 1036 OPS in 53 games since All-Star break;. 314/.397/.522 overall for Dodgers best positional prospect.
- Martin Perez, LHP, Rangers (Triple-A Round Rock): 9 IP, 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K. Just 97 pitches in complete game; 4.11 ERA but 62 Ks in 114 innings is concerning.
- Jerry Sands, OF/1B, Dodgers (Triple-A Albuquerque): 5-for-6, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI. Hitting .403/.467/.724 since the All-Star break; even if seen as a product of Albuquerque, isn't he better than James Loney?
- Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (Rookie-level Ogden): 2-for-3, 2B, HR (6), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. Ogden is a great place to put up numbers, but Seager is generating glowing reports from scouts as well; .309/.375/.503 in 38 games.
- Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Short-season Boise): 3-for-4, HR (9), 2 R, RBI, BB. Hasn't slowed one bit in college-heavy Northwest League. All he can do is hit, but .343/.417/.686 line is certainly hitting.
- Keenyn Walker, OF, White Sox (High-A Winston-Salem): 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 K, SB. Another pleasant surprise in the White Sox system as big tools player has shows raw power, speed, good approach, but too much swing and miss; .273/.376/.434 in 25 games since promotion.