This is something of a pre-emptive post, given the fact that the Braves have yet to announce their Sunday starter as of this writing. Rumors have been swirling since Friday that Aaron Blair would get the call-up to make his Major League debut, and the Mets are expecting to face the 23-year-old at 1:35 PM - and that's good enough for me. Here's what Jason Hunt had to say about him in our Diamondbacks top-ten prospects list (the Braves post was written before the trade for Shelby Miller was announced):
Drafted in the supplemental first round in 2013 (36th overall), Blair is now officially ready for a major league trial. At least, that's what 73 innings of solid pitching (3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 56 Ks), in the AAA Pacific Coast League indicates. Blair has incrementally moved up one level at a time in the minors and generally succeeded everywhere. He's durable, which is to be expected with his 6-5 230 lb frame. His stuff is solid, although not spectacular. Expect Blair to reach that #3 starter ceiling and be around awhile.
As Jason insinuated, Blair's performance and stuff has generally been regarded as solid, yet unspectacular. He lacks the jaw-dropping stat lines or the swoon-inducing out pitch to make him a household name for fans, but he may well have one of the highest floors of any pitcher in the minors. Blair was ready for a shot at the Braves rotation out of Spring Training as a result of this, and his line through three Triple-A starts only further cemented that notion - 19.0 IP, 10 H, 5 BB, 22 K, 1.42 ERA.
Blair was a consensus top-60 prospect heading into 2016 - he was ranked 39th by Keith Law, 43rd by John Sickels, 43rd by Baseball Prospectus, and 60th by Baseball America. He features a heavy, low-90s sinker, an above-average change-up, and two average-ish breaking balls, and he commands all of his offerings very well. Blair has all of the tools that one would look for in a mid-rotation innings eater, and he has the sort of build (6'4" and 230-plus pounds) that portends durability. He does not have a true swing-and-miss pitch (though his curve can be when it's on), but he isn't a pure pitch-to-contact type, either. He thrives on keeping hitters off-balance and garnering soft contact.
In fantasy terms, Blair is the sort of pitcher that can contribute a little bit of everything. He's unlikely to rack up strikeouts, but he won't walk the park, nor will he give up a ton of home runs. He should be average or better across the board. I wouldn't be shocked if Blair was sent back down after this impromptu start - but he'll be up for good before the Summer, and I would act accordingly.