Prospect Watch: Joe Blanton

Just two years removed from University of Kentucky, Joe Blanton has impressed the A's management enough to be considered as the 5th starter as soon as June of 2004. Acquired # 24 in the 2002 Draft from the Yankees as compensation for Jason Giambi. Blanton plans to be in the A's future for many years to come.

Biography

The A's drafted P Joe Blanton in the 1st round of the 2002 amateur draft out of University of Kentucky. Continuing their tradition of drafting college players who are ready to produce in the majors. Blanton pitched only 20.3 innings in his first year splitting time between the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest league and Modesto A's of the California league. He showed why he was the first round pick as he struck out 21 batters while allowing only 19 hits.

2003: A Look Back

Blanton arrived in 2003 as he had an excellent season for the Kane county Cougars; he struck out 144 batters while walking only 19 in 133 IP. Such gaudy numbers got him moved to the Midland Rock Hounds, where he continued his dominance. He started 5 games for the Hounds and won three of them with a minuscule 1.26 ERA. He once again continued to strike people out to the tune of almost batter an inning.

Projection

Signing of Mark Redman hurts chances of Blanton being promoted to the majors this year but if Rich Harden shows any signs that he can't handle the fifth spot, Blanton might be the first person A's Manager Ken Macha ask for, Blanton is most likely to get a spot start in September. Make no mistakes if the A's didn't have such a deep pitching staff he would be most likely starting for the A's once the season started.

Best Compared To...

Blanton has great mechanics and a fastball that touches 95 Mph, with an over the top curve ball that can be devastating. He can be best compared to the Giants Jason Schmidt because of his velocity and his mechanics.

The Last Word..

Blanton is going to be a star with the A's, he has all the right tools and the stuff to dominate in the big leagues. Most importantly he finds himself in a perfect situation with the pitching rich A's, he will not be rushed to the majors. Others team like the Tigers made such mistakes with pitchers like Jeremy Bonderman. Barring any setbacks expect Blanton to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mulder, Zito and Hudson.

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