Newly acquired reliever Michael Blazek will report immediately to the Milwaukee Brewers after being the Player To Be Named Later in the John Axford trade with St. Louis.
Blazek, 24, was drafted in the 35th round out of high school in Las Vegas and has progressed slowly through the Cardinals minor league system.
The right-hander began his professional career in 2007 with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals where he posted a 3-3 record with an earned run average in the span of 34.2 innings.
At times the Cardinals organization attempted multiple times to experiment with him as a starter but was largely unsuccessful.
From 2009 with the Batavia Muckdogs through his time on the Memphis Redbirds he accumulated 50 starts of 74 appearances
Through the span of the two years the pitcher received mixed results when given the starting nod.
His sole season as an exclusive starter in 2011 with the AA Springfield Cardinals brought a 5.45 earned run average and an 11-6 record in 133.2 innings. He struck out a total of 128 batters and walked 64 in 2011 where he accrued 24 total starts.
Blazek averages one strikeout per inning through 175 total games in his career and posts a career 4.13 earned run average.
The pitcher’s struggles typically come when he is promoted and needs time to adjust to a more competitive environment, indicative of his statistics when he makes his initial appearances.
When he was recalled by St. Louis in 2013, the pitcher endured a tough growth spurt in 11 games allowing eight earned runs
through 10.1 innings.
Blazek was rated as the St. Louis Cardinals 13th rated prospect in the organization and touts five different pitches.
The 2013 season is the first where he has been used an exclusive closer and has posted respectable numbers.
He has notched nine saves between two levels of the minor league system with an earned run average of 1.97.
Blazek’s strikeout rates have improved since moving to the bullpen with 52 strikeouts in 45.2 innings.
His strikeout-to-walk ratio is a stark contrast allowing 26 walks compared to the 52 strikeouts. In addition, he has allowed just one home run in 2013.