Clayton Kershaw, meet your future rival in the National League West.
His name is Clayton Blackburn.
Blackburn is an exciting 19-year-old hurler climbing the ranks in the San Francisco Giants organization.
Still a relative unknown, this 6'3" 220-lb right-hander was selected by the Giants in the 16th round (507th overall) of the 2011 Amateur MLB Draft (per MILB.com).
A graduate of Edmond Santa Fey High School in Oklahoma, Blackburn is the Giants ninth ranked prospect. He currently pitches for the Augusta Green Jackets in the Class A South Atlantic League.
Now, I do not normally drool over the potential of prospects. But after doing research for an MLB piece on 10 MLB pitching prospects with sick K/BB ratios, I have found it hard not to see the blinding light potential in Blackburn.
Here are Blackburn's pitching stats with Augusta.
|21 ||8 ||3 ||2.55 ||123.1 ||111 ||35 ||
In Blackburn's past 10 outings, he is 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 64 innings of work. He has whiffed 70 while walking, get this, six (11:61 K/BB ratio).
Blackburn, who does not turn 20 until January, is fresh off a 2011 Arizona Fall League campaign, where he posted a record of 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA in 33.1 innings.
Two years of minor league ball combined, Blackburn is 11-4 with a 2.25 ERA. His K/BB ratio in this time is a straight sick 7.95 (167K/21BB).
While it is still far too early to dub Blackburn the next great major league fireballer, Giants fans have to be excited about this ox of a pitcher.
And it goes to show, sometimes the best players that come along are not necessarily the most hyped.
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