Will Blake McFarland be left unprotected?
By Ryan Mueller
Blake McFarland has garnered some much deserved attention with the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League, but this isn’t anything new to those that have followed him throughout his minor league career.
With the Solar Sox, McFarland has yet to allow a run in 8 games and 11.2IP. He has struck out 15 batters, walked 6 batters, and posted a solid 1.20 WHIP. His AFL numbers aren’t too far off of his Double-A numbers, so it should not come as too much of a surprise if Blake continues to find success in Arizona.
This success will no doubt attract the attention of other ball clubs looking to improve their bullpen through this year Rule V draft in December. Blake is eligible to be selected if left unprotected by the Blue Jays. There were 5 relief pitchers selected in last years Rule V draft, with your Toronto Blue Jays being one of them.
Blake McFarland’s arsenal consists of a 89-92 mhp 4-seam fastball, a splitter, and a cutter. According to Alexis Brudnicki of Canadian Baseball Network, McFarland is working on the cutter while with the Mesa Solar Sox.
"“During his time in the Fall League, McFarland is looking forward to using his cutter as much as possible, to gauge how hitters react and adjust accordingly heading into next season.”"
If you aren’t following Alexis on twitter, do so now (@baseballexis). Alexis is great, if you want to read the rest of her piece on Blake McFarland, here it is.
2014 saw Blake rebound from an 0-8, 3.72ERA 2013. Although, Blake was used in more of a setup role in 2014, he pitched more innings in less appearances. He converted 4 saves in 4 save opportunities, compared to 18 of 24 in 2013. Blake was able to cut down his hits per 9 from 9.0 to 6.6 between Dunedin and New Hampshire, this while maintaining his BB/9 and K/9.
The biggest improvement for Blake in 2014 was his ability to limit the number of hits he surrenders. While with the Fisher Cats, Blake held the opposition to .192 batting average, .261 BABIP, and stranded base runners to a tune of 80.3 LOB%. He also set a career best with a 2.90 FIP. His previous best was 3.52, achieved while pitching for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2011.
At 26 years old, McFarland should be entering his prime years. The Blue Jays should strongly consider adding him to the 40-man roster. It wouldn’t be too far of a jump for McFarland to make the Blue Jays bullpen out of spring training. He has clearly turned the corner in his development and it would be a shame to lose him now.
Check Blake McFarland`s other passion (click here)