Jerry Blevins was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 17th round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Dayton. Blevins began his career in short-season Boise, where he was 6-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 23 games. He also had five saves.
Blevins moved up to Low-A Peoria in 2005, where he had 14 saves for the Chiefs while compiling a 5.54 ERA in 48 games, including two starts. He split time between three affiliates in 2006 after spending the first half of the season in extended spring training working on a sidearm throwing motion. He abandoned that sidearm motion after struggling in 2006.
He began the 2007 season in Single-A Daytona, where he was nearly unhittable using his regular three-quarters motion. Blevins allowed only one run and 13 hits in 23.2 innings for Daytona. He struck-out 32 and walked only five. That earned him a promotion to Double-A Tennessee, where Blevins continued to pitch well. He allowed 23 hits in 29.1 innings while striking out 37 and walking eight for the Smokies.
"He was throwing the ball real well in Daytona Beach with Rich Bombard down there," Tennessee pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn said on Monday night.
"But he came up to us and about all we did was give him the baseball and say, 'go get 'em,' and that's exactly what he did. We got him and maybe quickened him up to the point where he's better at holding base runners. He's done a good job and I'm happy for him."
According to Lewallyn, Blevins pitches in the 88-93 MPH range and most often sits at 90 or 91.
"He is not an over-the-top guy and he is not sidearm; he's kind of a low three-quarters guy. He actually threw the ball well in Spring Training and we just didn't have room for him on the club," Lewallyn said.
"He came up from Daytona and he throws three pitches: he's got an above-average fastball that's a little sneaky. He is sneaky quick; that's the best way to put it. He's got a real good straight changeup that he can throw to left-handers or right-handers, and he's got a pretty good curveball. He did a great job for us here."
Lewallyn has high praise for Blevins as a person, as well.
"He's a great kid. It's funny because his mom and dad were just here in Knoxville and he introduced me to them. He's one of those guys that you'd want your daughter to marry," Lewallyn said.
"After meeting his parents, you know why he's that kind of guy. You can tell that he's been raised properly. He's a 'yes, sir' and 'no, sir' guy and a quality individual. I'm happy for him and I feel certain that he'll pitch in the big leagues before too long."
InsidetheIvy.com's Steve Holley contributed to this report.
Cubs' Coaching Staff On Blevins
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