Next on The Baltimore Battery’s Prospect Profiles Countdown is 23-year-old pitcher, Blaine Knight. The former University of Arkansas right-handed pitcher is 6’3” and 160 lbs., but his heater and slider are the tools he uses to fool hitters.
Here is how MLB.com rates Knight’s game:
Coming out of college, Knight was one of the prized pitchers in the 2018 draft. The Orioles drafted him in the third round and signed him for $1.1 million.
In a limited 2018 season, Knight started four games in Aberdeen and combined for a 0-1 record with a 2.61 ERA. He struck out eight batters through 10.1 innings pitched.
In his first full professional season, Knight started off phenomenally in Single-A Delmarva. He tallied a 3-0 record off five starts with the Shorebirds, pitching to an incredible ERA of 0.68. Knight struck out 33 batters through 26.2 innings.
This incredible start to the 2019 season earned Knight a call-up to High-A Frederick; unfortunately, this is where his run of quality pitching halted.
Through 17 starts, Knight combined for a 1-12 record and a 6.13 ERA. He was only able to pitch six innings or more in four outings in a disastrous season. With that being said, Knight struck out 56 batters, as he worked on his heater and off-speed pitches.
While his 2019 season is a bit of an enigma, there are positives to take away. He dominated at Delmarva and could have easily padded his stats there all season long. Instead, Orioles’ management felt that the second-year pitcher was ready for a step-up in competition and let him show off his stuff against a higher talent level.
The numbers are abysmal, don’t get me wrong, but Knight will certainly learn from his time in Frederick and use that to improve. He is still young for a pitcher and has plenty of time to perfect his mechanics.
Knight will likely start next season in Frederick, with a chance to make it up to Double-A Bowie by the end of the season. Had Knight played the whole season in Delmarva, we would be hyping up his 2020 season debut in Frederick. As a whole, his 2019 season had a tough learning curve that will help the young pitcher grow and improve moving forward.
Knight’s fastball is his top pitch, which can get up to 97 mph. While he usually keeps it in the 90-94 mph range, Knight could throw even more heat if he fills out his 6’3” frame a bit more in the offseason. His slider is strong, while his changeup and curveball are quality off-speed pitches.
Knight is an exciting prospect for the O’s next season. At No. 16 on Baltimore’s top prospects list, Knight has potential to repeat a disappointing season or climb up even further upon a quality season. In 2020, Knight will be a quality pitching prospect to look out for.
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