Upstate New York is a beautiful place. I played two summers in the New York Collegiate Baseball League and absolutely loved my time out there. Baldwinsville is a picturesque town northwest of Syracuse on the Seneca River and home to Baker High School. It’s not a big town, one high school and a population right around 7,000, but it was home to Scott Blewett when he won the New York Gatorade Player of the Year award in 2014.
Blewett is a 6’6” RHP with good arm action who was committed to Coach Ed Blankmeyer who runs a great program at St. John’s University. The decision to sign with KC and bypass a collegiate career was, perhaps, made easier when pitching coach Scott Brown left St. John’s for Vanderbilt. Brown had been instrumental in the recruitment of Blewett to St. John’s. Even though Brown had left, Blewett did not decommit from the Red Storm as he had made a verbal commitment to them and felt his word was sacred. But after being drafted in the second round by Kansas City, Blewett decided to take the offer to start his professional career signing an above slot deal of $1.8 million.
Blewett has the body and potential arsenal to be a workhorse starter in the big leagues. As one Royals executive has said, I’m not going to limit his potential by putting a number on what starter he could be. He works in the low-to-mid-90s with a four-seam fastball that has some explosion to it. Blewett is very aggressive with his fastball and challenges hitter after hitter to make solid contact on it. Just when those hitters have finally dialed in and timed him up, he breaks them back down with his hard curve. The shape of the curve is very good. It has some 11-5 movement and seems to disappear from the zone. RHHs have a hard time picking up the tight spin and often swing and miss behind in the count as the break takes it off the outer edge into the dirt. His change up needs to be developed more and will probably be the key to his success in the long run. The curve by itself will not be enough to get LHHs out consistently even though he gets swings and misses at the back foot.
Blewett may have pitched through a bit of bad luck so far in his professional career. His ERA has been a little higher than you would like it to be. He outperformed his FIP slightly in 2017 but FIP showed that he was due for some progression. BABIP seems about normal so it’s hard to say why he is allowing so many runs until you look to see what’s happening with runners on base. When you look at his stats with runners on base his OBA jumps about 50 points and the OPS jumps nearly 100 points. I think he is overly crouched in the stretch position which takes just a little life off the fastball and the breaking stuff. Making a mechanical change that keeps him taller in the set position could help his stuff keep the life and make enough of a difference to lower that average.
I broke down how Blewett did against the number one and two prospects in other organizations and I was pleasantly surprised. Against Yoan Moncada, who was the number one prospect in all of baseball at the time, Blewett held him to a .000 average going 0-4 with one K and no BBs in two games. Victor Robles, who is currently the number two overall prospect in baseball, has hit .150 going 3-20 with one extra base hit, no BBs, and 1 K. Kyle Tucker was 0-2. Nick Gordon was 0-1 with a BB. Rafael Devers and Brendan Rodgers were both 1-5. Austin Hays was 0-3. Ozzie Albies was 3-8 with a triple and Michael Chavis had the most success going 3-9 with a home run despite 3 Ks.
Even though he isn’t a big strikeout pitcher there was a stretch in June where Blewett had 30 K’s in just 16.2 innings including a 12 K start. The strikeout potential is there and that’s why I don’t think you can put a number on what he could be. If those K’s continue to come consistently and improve, he could be a solid number 2 or even mentioned as an ace. If they don’t he’ll probably end up being a 3 type starter who eats innings and gets solid results.
Going into next season I would like to see the K rate stay the same or improve against better hitters, the WHIP and BB rate go down slightly, more change up usage, and see more GIDPs. Blewett only got 7 GIDPs in 27 starts even though he is a ground ball pitcher. But those are nitpicking type of things. Blewett has a really bright future in Royal blue and I can’t wait to watch him start for Northwest Arkansas this coming year.