Tuesday, December 29, 2015

DrB's 2015 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #6 Clayton Blackburn

Clayton Blackburn, RHP.  DOB:  1/6/1993.  6'3", 230 lbs.

AAA:  10-4, 2.85, 7.24 K/9, 2.34 BB/9, GO/AO= 1.59.

Clayton Blackburn got himself in shape and lost his baby fat.  He had the top PCL ERA for qualified pitchers by a significant margin.  He did that in a league that does not generally favor pitchers with his statistical profile, dependent heavily on ground balls and command.  He got progressively stronger as the season went along improving his ERA every month and running up a 7-1 record with an ERA of 1.71 post All-Star Game.

Blackburn is currently likely #7 on the Giants SP depth chart behind Chris Heston, which means he will likely start the season in Sacramento barring a spring training injury.  People still question his ceiling, but if he can command his low 90's FB with sink, there is no reason he cannot become at least a #3 starter on a good staff.

ETA is 2016 depending on need in SF.


  1. I'm a believer!!!

    I think that he has been holding back things he can do at key points. There has been disagreements about how hard he can throw, and I believe he can manipulate his speed, which allows him to succeed. He dominated AAA as a 22year old, when 22year olds dominated AA are feted because they are drooled over because of traditional skills. I think he will show a lot of people that he is more than they project. He could Bumgarner Peavy out f the rotation like Wellemeyer was.

    1. It was 2 years ago, but I saw Blackburn top out at 93 MPH on the stadium gun in Rancho Cucamonga. Until I see something different, I'm going to take that as his top velocity, which is plenty if he has good command, keeps the ball on the ground and has good secondary stuff.

      I also think the Wellemeyer comp is a bit unfair to Peavy who has pitched very well for the Giants when healthy.

    2. Everyone seems to ignore the fact that Jake Peavy was 5-1 in the month of September, the best record among Giants' starting pitchers for the month.

    3. I love what Peavy can do, but he can't do it if he is injured again. And if Blackburn does what I think he can do, the Giants won't push him out when Peavy is ready.

      But to your point, don't mean Peavy couldn't push someone else out... My main point is that I think once Blackburn gets into the rotation, he won't get removed once the starter is ready again.

  2. Doc's Top 50 Placement for Clayton:

    2012: 13th
    2013: 5th
    2014: 8th
    2015: 8th
    2016: 6th

  3. Just as an FYI, Baseball Prospectus Top-10:

    Christian Arroyo, SS
    Lucius Fox, SS
    Tyler Beede, RHP
    Jalen Miller, SS
    Phil Bickford, RHP
    Samuel Coonrod, RHP
    Christopher Shaw, 1B
    Kyle Crick, RHP
    Aramis Garcia, C
    Adalberto Mejia, LHP

    Blackburn gets no love from BP. But BA has Blackburn at #8. MLB hasn't updated since mid-season and Blackburn is second/third tier prospect coming in at 21 there. And Sickles still hasn't done his 2016 list, but seems to, at a minimum, respect him (or at least he did earlier in the year):

    "He doesn't look like a pitcher is supposed to look, weighing in somewhere between 230 and 260 pounds depending on when the measurement is taken. He doesn't have the "electric body" that scouts want to see. He can get his fastball to 93-94 MPH but more often works in the upper-80s. He has a curve, a hybrid slider/cutter, and a change-up, but none of his pitches rate more than average according to most observers.

    Despite all of that, Blackburn has been a consistent success because of his command. His pitching instincts are excellent and helps everything play up. He has both control and command, avoiding excessive walks but also able to locate his four pitches to specific locations. He can also hit every velocity spot between 68 and 94 MPH and has become more consistent with his delivery mechanics over the last couple of years."

    I would not be terribly surprised to see him pass Heston on the depth chart this year. But that would be if Cain fails and Heston remains at his post-All-Star performance. Both of which are reasonable possibilities.

    1. I hope they are right about Miller. I would not rank Coonrod that high. Other than that, no major disagreement with BP.

    2. Oh, and Williamson should definitely be top 10, not doubt in my mind on that one!

  4. I'm putting my foot in it right here...Clayton Blackburn will be Madduxian.