This off-season I dealt Yankees C Jorge Posada for Oakland A's starting pitcher Joe Blanton, who picked-up his second win of the season on Friday night. At the time, I wanted to add an inexpensive starting pitcher. I looked at his BAA in 2006 (.309) versus the one he has in 2005 (.236) and gambled he'd land somewhere in between. In my estimation, this would make him an above average AL-only starter.
In the spring, he got lit-up to the tune of 28 hits in 13 innings, but he struck out 12 batters. Was he working on pitching differently and that is why his hits allowed were way-up, as were his strikeouts?
Four starts in, and Joe Blanton has 21 Ks in 24 IP. This 7.9 K/IP ratio dwarves his career-mark, set in two seasons worth of innings, of 5.1. Combined with his Spring Training performance, does this indicate Blanton has taken a step-up? If it does, then he should be treated as a late round draft pick and plucked from the free agent pool.