2006 Ranking: NR
School: Eastern Oklahoma State University
Cardinal: Selected in the 44th round of the June, 2005 First-Year Player
Draft. Signed to a 2006 contract in May, 2006. 2006 G W-L IP H BB K ERA WHIP
Jason Scott (28): Two things concern me about King's 2006 season. First, his 0.77 groundout/fly out ratio, which could be contributed to the fact that he pitches up in the zone. It worked for him in the Appy League, but it will be interesting to see if it continues to work for him at the higher levels of the system. My guess is that it won't, but he still has plenty of time to work on it. Second, are the 29 walks that he allowed in 62.2 innings. That doesn't concern me as much, however, as many young pitchers have problems with their control. Other than those two things, he had a phenomenal season. It won't be hard for him to move up my list next year.
Leonda Markee (19): 2006 was King's professional debut season and it was an eye-catching one. A draft-and-follow from the June 2005 draft, King signed with the Cardinals in May 2006 after having celebrated his 19th birthday the previous month. He was assigned to rookie level Johnson City where his season qualified him for seventh place in the criteria used to determine The Birdhouse's "Pitcher of the Year". King's 1.05 WHIP was second among starters to State College's Matt Lane and his average of 10.63 K/9 IP was third among starters. Control remains an issue as is expected in a young pitcher. King walked an average of just over four batters a game. He now needs to replicate the 2006 season consistently to become the top level prospect of which this season hints.
Ray Mileur (24): An Appalachian League Top 20 Prospect according to Baseball America, King, who will remind you of Luis Tiant, made quick work of Appy League hitters with a deceptive maximum-effort delivery. Before coming to the plate, he turns to face the outfield and then delivers the ball over the top.
King pitches up in the zone with a low-90s fastball, reaching 94 at times, keeping the ball in the park because hitters don't see it well coming out of his hand. His late-breaking slider is an above-average pitch already and it generated lots of swings because it looks like a fastball until it breaks late at the plate. He ranked second in the league in strikeouts (74) but also walks (29), and opponents hit just .167 against him.
King led national junior college pitchers in strikeouts (123 in 86 innings) and ranked seventh in ERA (1.05), prompting the Cardinals to sign him as a draft-and-follow before he could re-enter the 2006 draft.
Keep an eye on King, it will be interesting to see if the coaches try to get him to adjust his delivery, we'll know a lot more about Blake when he gets a chance to face batters at the Double-A level, but for now he is someone worth watching.
Brian Walton (18): King is an unheralded pick as one of the Cardinals last draft-and-follow selections before the practice was outlawed in the new labor agreement. Word is that the Oklahoman is a strong competitor. His 74 strikeouts (in 62-2/3 innings) were second most in the entire Appalachian League and his strikeout to walk ratio of 2.5 was stellar.
He has good movement on his low 90's fastball and a sharp-breaking curveball, but he has not yet mastered his curve. Opposing hitters managed just a .167 average against him and his 3.02 ERA are two very respectable marks, especially for a 19-year old.
I am very intrigued with King and will be watching closely to see if he can step up to Quad Cities and continue to grow. I think he will.
STAFF COMMENTS KEY: Staff Member (Individual Ranking), NR = Not Rated
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