TCN 2012 Cardinals Prospect #33: Seth Blair

Taken 46th overall in the 2010 draft, the former Arizona State star did not consistently throw strikes in his 2011 pro debut. What is next for the right-hander?

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile(including links to full 2011 and career stats)

2011 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
10 RHS 3/3/1989 6-2 195 R R 2010 1s

School: Arizona State University

Selected 2011 stats

QC 6 3 5.29 21 21 0 81.2 79 54 9 62 70 1.46 0.259

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (NR): Seth Blair has fallen completely off my prospect radar. Given my "balanced approach" between potential and results, one could argue that because of Blair's potential alone, he should probably be ranked. Players such as him don't become supplemental first round picks without a huge amount of potential.

However, I am not a huge fan of players who suffer from "Rick Ankiel disease". From Ankiel himself to Gary Daley to Francisco Samuel, the Cards organization has not shown the ability to get a pitcher back on track once he starts to have serious control issues. (That's also bad news for you, Shooter Hunt.)

Blair was not only wild in 2011 (nearly seven walks per nine innings pitched), but he also gave up a home run every nine IP (a deadly combination) and got wilder as the season progressed. The only bright side to Blair's season was that he showed the ability to strike out batters despite his wildness.

Despite his control issues, I expect Blair to move up from Quad Cities to Palm Beach - if not to open 2012, then shortly thereafter. There would be seem to be nothing that helps one find the plate in Quad Cities any easier than arriving in Palm Beach. A change of scenery might help.

Message board community (28): Blair feel a long way in the community rankings, from 13th last year to 28th this year. He received some consideration starting around the discussion of the 23rd prospect. A look at his walk total - 62 in just 81 2/3 innings, largely explains why he fell as far as he did. One of our community who watched him pitch thought he only had control of his slider, but not his fastball.

Blair had particularly big struggles against lefties (.461 OBP/.453 SLG/.914 OPS), but did better against righties (.356/.373/.729). This was his first year of pitching in the pros, so he has a long time to turn it around. Blair turns 23 in March. - Gagliano

Brian Walton (38): It may not be entirely fair, but since Blair and his former ASU Sun Devils teammate Jordan Swagerty were both taken by the Cardinals very early in the 2010 draft, it is logical to measure their respective progress.

While the two right-handers began the 2011 season together in Class A, Swagerty since moved up two levels, already earning his spurs in Double-A. On the other hand, Blair is still flailing away two levels lower and to top it off, raised make-up questions by being suspended to close out the season. Sent home, he missed supporting his teammates as they took the Midwest League championship without him.

Despite Blair's very slow start as a professional, a number of scouts still like his arm, the reason he was taken so early in the first place. There have been no reports of any injuries beyond the normal. As such, I am not giving up on Blair yet. But my concern level is higher because the control questions were first raised long before draft day in 2010. If he doesn't get it going in 2012, there will surely be hotter prospects to take the place of the Cardinals' Blair Project, $750,000 bonus or not.

Our 2012 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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