The St. Louis Cardinals are considering sending the 46th overall pick in the 2010 draft, pitcher…
School: Arizona State University
Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (8): When I was researching the 2010 draft, I really thought Blair was the Cardinals type of player. Well, the team proved me correct as they nabbed him with their supplemental first round pick. Blair is a big bodied pitcher who had college success and induces quite a few groundballs.
The right-hander works in the low 90's but there have been reports that his fastball has touched as high as 98. His fastball shows good life and natural sink. He throws a good 12-to-6 curve that has the makings of a plus pitch. Blair throws a slider as well that is not as sharp as the curveball. His changeup is inconsistent but grades out as a plus pitch when it is on.
There is not a lot of projection in his 6-foot-2 frame but the Cardinals didn't draft him on projection. Blair has a lot of polish and should be a guy like a Lance Lynn that can shoot through the system. I look for the former Arizona State star to start the year at Palm Beach and a promotion to the Texas League by the end of the year is not out of the question. Blair looks the part of a solid number three pitcher.
Message board community (13): Seth Blair was the community's 13th pick. That might be a bit low for a supplemental first rounder, one ranked 34th in the draft by Baseball America.
Blair has a plus fast ball reported to have good sink, and two other good pitches to boot. The hesitation seemed mostly to be about his lack of innings after signing. Absence of those innings made it a bit easier to forget him as we were discussing rankings. And there is always the possibility that there was some injury that led to the decision, though there is no direct evidence of anything being wrong.
Then again, consider a comparable player, Lance Lynn. Blair was the 46th player taken in the draft this past year. Lynn was the 39th player taken in his year and yet was only the community's 21st pick that year, so perhaps the 13th spot is not such an anomaly.
A scouting report suggested that he had some command issues. One of our community members who watched him reported that Blair really needed to keep the ball down so as to keep the movement on his pitches. Blair could move quickly and might well become a mid-rotation starter. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (11): My concerns aren't as much with Blair personally as what he represents. Is taking a "safe" college pitcher with the upside of a number three starter the best use of the 46th overall pick? After all, why not take a bit more of a chance and get a guy who could grow into a number one, but might slip to a number five or worse?
My other rub has to do with the fact neither I nor anyone else has been able to see Blair pitch as a professional. Despite signing prior to the end of July, Blair was deemed not ready to take the mound for Batavia and did not pitch in fall or winter ball either. As a result, he has zero professional innings heading into 2011. To me that means lost time and creates a small question mark about his durability and perhaps even his soundness.
While high schoolers can suffer injuries certainly, drafting college pitchers that had heavy use also carries risk. At least if the youngsters sign early, the professional organization can manage their workload from their teenage years onward.
In August, after Blair joined Batavia, I asked him about his time off.
"I needed to take a little time off because I had a little heavier workload than I have in years past," Blair said. "I throw fastball, curve, changeup and when I am going really well, I have good fastball command. When I have good fastball command, then everything else follows."
I questioned his command, but Blair wouldn't hear of it.
"I feel I have great command," the pitcher replied. "I am not where I want to be, but I am going to keep getting better."
We shall finally see in 2011.
Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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