The first round of this year’s MLB draft will be held on June 4. For the teams that have an early pick on day one, it is essential for them to get a player who can help the team quickly. While drafting a player is not an exact science, teams do their best to ensure they are getting a talented player who can move quickly up the system and help them reach the ultimate goal. College players tend to be more refined and closer to being major league ready. High school players can be taught by the organization’s own coaches but require longer time in the minors. Depending on a team’s needs and evaluation of talent, the draft picks tend to vary in age and maturity level.
Blaine Knight 2018 MLB Draft Profile
Blaine Knight is a right-handed pitcher at the University of Arkansas. Cliff Lee and Dallas Keuchel are a couple of top pitchers to come from Arkansas. He has had a solid year as a sophomore with a 2.78 ERA and an 86/21 K/BB ratio through 87.1 IP. He was drafted last year by the Texas Rangers in the 29th round but chose to stay in school. As a sophomore, he may choose the same route this year. It will all depend on where he gets drafted. His coach, David Van Horn seems to think he will return to Arkansas. Either way, Knight is looking like a possible late first round pick.
Knight has an effortless delivery and pumps his fastball regularly at around 93-95. He mixes in a cutter and slider which has good movement to both sides of the plate. His control and command are excellent due to his easy and repeatable delivery. The main thing scouts like about him is his upside. At 6’3 and only 170 lbs., he has a chance to fill out his frame. Even now at his size, he can throw around 94 on a regular basis. Scouts see a lot of room for strength and improvement.
While his cutter and fastball are effortless, his curveball and changeup are not yet up to par. Knight needs to develop an off-speed pitch to get upper-level hitters out. His control and command is a plus but he is not someone who will miss a ton of bats. While the development of more secondary pitches would help, if he doesn’t fill out his frame and add strength, many scouts feel he could be injury-prone and not worth a first-round choice.
Blaine Knight can be a solid starter in the big leagues. He needs to improve on his stuff and work to get stronger. He is a control guy, which scares off some teams as they want the swing and miss potential. Knight profiles as an end of the rotation starter with a ceiling of a number three if he can prove his durability and control at the next level. MLB Pipeline has him ranked at #48 and Fangraphs have the Arizona Diamondbacks taking him at #57.
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