Mark Blackmar, an athletic pitcher out of Temple JC, was the Orioles’ 16th round selection in the 2011 draft. His father is PGA golfer Phil Blackmar.
Blackmar made an impressive pro debut in the GCL, where he didn’t allow a run and struck out 15 in 17 innings. He held hitters to a .153 average and also posted an impressive ground ball rate (3.38 GO/AO).
Don: Do not let Blackmar’s 16th round pick status fool you at all about his ability on the mound. Consistent pitchers that induce ground balls will always be a high commodity for MLB teams.
He is still learning the craft of pitching, but he is doing much more than I could have ever anticipated based off of his professional debut. Blackmar’s strong point is his command of the fastball and change up.
Blackmar’s change up has very good drop for his age and pedigree. He keeps the ball low and away with a great deal of success. I suspect that he will be a high ground ball pitcher because of the action on his changeup.
His upper 80s two-seamer has nice bite and drop, but is not quite at the stage of a sinker. It shows some promise and could be a nice 1-2 punch with the changeup down the road.
His fastball can easily touch the low 90s in the future, but it really is about projection with him. I suspect that if he improves his strength and size it would allow him to sit in the low-mid 90s, and potentially mid-90s, consistently as a starter. There is a good deal of projection left in the 19 year old.
As with any young pitcher, Blackmar needs time to fully focus his craft, work to improve his arsenal, and iron out any small wrinkles in his game. His early start in the Gulf Coast League was a nice surprise, but as the competition improves he must do so as well. Learning another quality off-speed pitch to throw in any count will benefit him greatly.
He may not be on the tip of the tongue for even die hard Orioles prospect followers, but if he continues along this path it will not be long that he’s considered a “sleeper”.
After a strong debut, Blackmar should be able to claim a rotation spot with Aberdeen when the short-season leagues begin.