Aaron Blair was acquired from the Diamondbacks in the Shelby Miller trade in December. He's a right-handed pitching prospect that might not be too far off from being ready to pitch in Atlanta.
Blair is 6-5 and weighs 230, so he's a lot like Miller in that he's a big tall right-hander. Blair turns 24 on May 26. The Diamondbacks drafted Blair in the first round (36th overall) out of Marshall in 2013.
MLB.com has Blair ranked as the 61st best prospect in baseball and Atlanta's fourth-best prospect. His mid-90s fastball is Blair’s key, along with an improving curve and changeup that have high grades. Blair’s control has been really good so far.
Blair had 12 starts in AAA for the Diamondbacks last season, so there’s a chance the 23-year-old will go to spring training and compete for a job in the Atlanta rotation. However, with the rotation looking rather full right now already, the Braves could have the luxury of sending Blair to start the season in Gwinnett.
But Blair is definitely not too far away. If he’s not ready to break camp with Atlanta, Blair could be ready at any time he’s needed during the season.
Compare Blair to Matt Wisler, who had 22 starts in AAA with the Padres in 2014 before he was traded to the Braves. Then he had 12 in Gwinnett before being called up to Atlanta. The difference that makes Blair a bit closer perhaps is Blair is just a tad older than Wisler and he was a college pitcher. Either way, Blair is close.
ETA: Late-2016 or 2017
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