Blair with the Braves in 2016
|Atlanta Braves – No. 36|
Born: May 26, 1992|
Las Vegas, Nevada
|April 24, 2016, for the Atlanta Braves|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2016 season)
|Earned run average||7.59|
|Representing United States|
|Pan American Games|
Aaron Daniel Blair (born May 26, 1992) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). Blair attended Marshall University, where he played baseball for the Marshall Thundering Herd baseball team. Prior to that, he attended Spring Valley High School in Spring Valley, Nevada and played for the school's baseball team. The Houston Astros selected him in the 21st round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft but decided to go to college instead. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Blair with the 36th pick of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves by the Diamondbacks as part of a five-player deal announced December 9, 2015.
Blair threw a no-hitter in his sophomore year at Spring Valley High School, was 7-0 his junior year and became a Nevada 1st Team All-State player his senior year while leading all Nevada 4A pitchers with 91 strikeouts in 64 innings. He had 9 complete games out of 10 starts. He added a .449 average with 7 home runs and 43 RBIs his senior year.
Though not highly recruited coming out of high school, Blair caught the eye of Marshall University while playing for the Ohio Warhawks in the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Florida during the fall of his senior year. Blair agreed to attend Marshall on a scholarship, where he would play college baseball for the Marshall Thundering Herd. As a freshman, Blair led the team in ERA with a 2.72 while being named to the Conference USA All-Freshmen team. His sophomore year Blair led the Thundering Herd pitching staff in starts (14). innings pitched ( 83 2⁄3) and strikeouts (82). During the summer between his sophomore and junior year, Blair was invited to play in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. He was named Pitcher of the Week for the first and second weeks of the season as he went on to lead the Cape Cod Baseball League in ERA with a 1.17 while going 6-0 and then adding two wins in the Cape Cod Baseball League playoffs. In an elimination game in the championship series, Blair went seven innings while allowing only two hits and striking out ten to force a final game.
As a junior, Blair was added to the Golden Spikes Award watch list. Blair was named a 1st Team Conference USA pitcher. Included in his season was an 8 inning, 2 hit, 11 strikeout and no run game against the 19th ranked Houston Cougars in a 4-0 win to earn Blair Louisville Slugger National Pitcher of the Week. He finished his Marshall career with 200 strikeouts in 202 innings. Blair then became the highest drafted player in Marshall University baseball history when the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him in the 1st round with the 36th pick.
The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Blair with the 36th pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. Blair signed with the Diamondbacks for a $1.435 million signing bonus and was assigned to the Hillsboro Hops of the Class A-Short Season Northwest League. He was promoted in August to the South Bend Silver Hawks of the Midwest League, where he won 2 playoff games.
Blair started the 2014 campaign in South Bend but was quickly promoted to High A Advanced Visalia Rawhide after only 6 starts in South Bend. In his debut for Visala, Blair went 7 innings, allowing only one run on three hits, walking two and striking out nine. Blair would make 12 more starts for Visalia before being promoted, this time to the Southern League with the AA Mobile BayBears. Blair dominated in his first two Southern League starts, pitching a combined 13 2⁄3 innings, allowing only 1 run and 8 hits while striking out 16 and walking only 1. Those performances also earned him the Southern League's Pitcher of the Week award. Blair finished the 2014 season with Mobile with a 4-1 record in 8 starts, covering 46 1⁄3 innings with an 1.94 ERA to go along with 46 strikeouts. The season totals were a 9-5 record over 27 starts and 154 1⁄3 innings. He struck out 171 hitters while walking only 51. He was also named the Arizona Diamondbacks 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Both MLB.com and Baseball America ranked Blair the Diamondbacks' third best prospect prior to the start of the 2015 season. He started the year back in Mobile and made 13 starts, finishing with a record of 6-3 and an ERA of 2.70 over 83 1⁄3 innings before he was promoted to the AAA Reno Aces in June, where he continued his successful 2015 campaign. Blair ended his Reno stint with a record of 7-2 and an ERA of 3.16 in the notoriously hitting-friendly Pacific Coast League. He was also named the Diamondbacks 2015 Organizational Pitcher of the Year.
On December 9, 2015, the Diamondbacks traded Blair, along with Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte, to the Atlanta Braves for Shelby Miller and Gabe Speier. MLB.com ranked Blair the Braves' fourth-best prospect at the start of the 2016 season. He was invited to spring training that year as a non-roster invitee. Blair began the season with the Gwinnett Braves of the Class AAA International League, and was promoted to the major leagues on April 23, making his major league debut the following day. He made eleven starts for the team and pitched to a 7.99 ERA before being optioned to Gwinnett on June 25. Blair did not collect a win in his first stint with the Braves, and he became the first Braves pitcher to take five career-opening losses since Don Collins in 1977. While in the minors, Blair injured his knee and only started nine games, pitching to a 2-4 record and a 5.98 ERA. On August 27, Blair was recalled to face the San Francisco Giants the next day. He finished four innings while yielding three home runs and took the loss. Due to this rocky performance as well as his struggles throughout the season at the major league and minor league levels, the Braves chose to remove Blair from the rotation so he could focus on improving his pitching mechanics. He started against the New York Mets on September 19, and earned his first major league victory.
- Bowman, Mark (May 5, 2016). "Mom behind Blair for every step of journey". MLB.com. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- "Blair Named 1st Team All State of Nevada". NevadaPreps.com. June 2, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Blair Wins Back to Back Pitcher of the Week". Capecodbaseball.org. June 25, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Charpentier, Russ (August 17, 2012). "Blair's work keeps them playing". capecodonline.com. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Blair named to Watch List". Herdzone.com. February 15, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Blair Named 1st Team Conference USA". Herdzone.com. May 21, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Blair Named Louisville Slugger Pitcher of the Week". Herdzone.com. April 8, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Blair Selected with 36th pick by Diamondbacks". Herdzone.com. June 6, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "D-backs stick with athleticism to wrap Day 1". MLB.com. June 7, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
- "D-backs Select Aaron Blair & Justin Williams with 2nd & 3rd Picks in 2013 Draft". Arizona Diamondbacks. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "Hillsboro Hops: Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair provide glimpse into Diamondbacks' future". OregonLive.com. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- Maun, Tyler (May 9, 2014). "Blair right at home in Cal League debut". MILB.com. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- "Minor League Baseball Pitchers of the Week for July 21–27 - MiLB.com News - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "Jake Lamb named Arizona Diamondbacks' Player of the Year". MiLB.com. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- Reiter, Cheyne (June 17, 2015). "RHP Aaron Blair promoted from Mobile to Reno". MILB.com. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- Piecoro, Nick; Killian, Tyler (June 17, 2015). "Diamondbacks pitching prospect Aaron Blair promoted to Triple-A". Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- "D-Backs Name Aaron Blair organization's Pitcher of the Year".
- "Shelby Miller traded to Diamondbacks". ESPN. December 9, 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
- Bowman, Mark (May 18, 2016). "Blair sent down by Braves; Gant recalled". MLB.com. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
- Bowman, Mark (March 18, 2016). "Blair, Sims show Braves they're not far behind". MLB.com. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- Bowman, Mark (April 23, 2016). "Braves call up prospect Blair for rotation". MLB.com. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
- O'Brien, David (April 23, 2016). "Braves prospect Blair to debut with start Sunday vs. Mets". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
- James, Pat (June 26, 2016). "Struggling Blair optioned, Marksberry recalled". MLB.com. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
- O'Brien, David (August 27, 2016). "Back from Triple-A, Braves rookie Blair set to start Sunday". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
- Bowman, Mark (August 28, 2016). "Blair gets knocked around in return to Braves". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- Bowman, Mark (August 31, 2016). "Braves decide to remove Blair from rotation". MLB.com. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- DiComo, Anthony; Knobler, Danny (September 19, 2016). "Blair, Braves stand up to Thor in New York". MLB.com. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
- Knobler, Danny (September 19, 2016). "Blair's dedication, patience yield first victory". MLB.com. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- Cotton, Steve (April 13, 2015). "Blair Hoping for Engagement in MLB". Conference USA. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Marshall Baseball Bio
- Aaron Blair on Twitter