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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Blaine Knight, RHP, University of Arkansas

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Strike-throwing sophomore Blaine Knight from the University of Arkansas could go early in the 2017 MLB Draft

We are in the home stretch for 2017 MLB Draft coverage, with a few more player profiles to add to our catalog. The next one is Blaine Knight, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Arkansas.

THE BASICS

Blaine Knight is from Bryant, Arkansas. Although known to scouts in high school he was strongly committed to the University of Arkansas and was considered too raw to buy away from school in 2015. Used as both a starter and reliever in his 2016 freshman season, he posted a 2.98 ERA in 48 innings with a 46/14 K/BB.

A full-time starter in 2017, he’s been one of the top pitchers in the SEC this season with a 3.28 ERA in 91 innings and a 96/20 K/BB with just 75 hits allowed.

A draft-eligible sophomore, Knight is a right-handed hitter and thrower born June 20th, 1996. He’s listed at 6-3, 165.

STRENGTHS

As you can imagine from the height-weight data, Knight is slightly built but an excellent overall athlete. His fastball is generally 90-94 MPH but he’s been clocked as high as 96-97. He is still physically projectable and may be able to hold his peak velocities more readily as he matures and fills out.

He has a full arsenal of secondaries with a slider/cutter, curveball, and change-up at his disposal. The change-up was his best pitch as a freshman but the slider/cutter took a large step forward this year; both pitches earn 55 grades at present. The curve is just average but a workable fourth pitch and may improve further.

Knight throws all four pitches for strikes, competes well, and has been durable thus far.

WEAKNESSES

Knight’s slight frame leads to concern about durability and there’s no guarantee that he actually will fill out and add more strength. His curveball could also use more consistency, and some observers worry that he focuses too much on his slider to the detriment of his other pitches. As a draft-eligible sophomore he has more negotiating leverage than the typical college pitcher.

OVERALL PROJECTION

Knight projects as a number three or four starter or perhaps a dynamic relief pitcher if durability becomes an issue. On his own terms he is a second-round talent, although whether he goes that high or not will depend on how teams gauge his signability.