Wit the August 31st waiver trade deadline just a day away, the Orioles have made a last minute deal to bolster their playoff hopes, sending minor league right-handers Mark Blackmar and Miguel Chalas to the White Sox for outfielder Alejandro De Aza
It’s been a breakout season for the 22 year old Blackmar, a former sixteenth round selection. After splitting time between relief and the rotation for his first two full seasons of professional baseball, Blackmar was finally given a shot to start this April. He has taken advantage, going a perfect 10-0 with a 2.85 ERA over 21 outings and 118.1 innings for Advanced-A Frederick since moving into his new role.
Pitching out of the Frederick bullpen, Chalas, the same age as Blackmon, has not had the same level of success. In 69 1/3 innings, he posted a 4.80 ERA and struck out a rather pedestrian 6.4 batters per nine innings. Nevertheless, Baltimore saw something in the slender right-hander, and promoted him to Triple-A last Tuesday. He has allowed just one earned run and struck out six over seven innings thus far.
Neither prospect is particularly highly regard. Both fell short of MLB.com’s ranking of the top 20 Baltimore prospects, nor do they rank among the White Sox top 20 now that the trade is complete.
For Blackmar, a low stock may be a product of a low strikeout rate. The Texas native actually has fanned more batters per nine innings this season than he has at any point since 2011, but his K/9 is still only 5.7.
In turn,that uninspiring punch-out rate is a product of an uninspiring arsenal. According to Chicago Now’s Matt Cassidy, Blackmar is a fastball-changeup pitcher with a fastball of middling velocity a change-up that is often inconsistent. The latter pitch does show flashes, however, and the sink on his two seamer has impressed in spots.
Regardless of the break or quality of his pitches, Blackmar can control them, with a 2.2 BB/9 this season, and a 2.8 mark for his career.
Chalas, though three inches shorter and 45 pounds lighter, puts much more force behind the ball than Blackmar does, with a 4-seamer that can reach up into the mid-90’s. He alternates between that and a sinker in the high-80’s, while throwing a 78-81 MPH slurve as his primary off-speed offering.
According to Orioles Nation, the Dominican Native’s primary obstacle is his max-effort delivery, which accounts for his strong velocity, but also for his rhythm and timing issues, inability to repeat his throwing motion and struggles with command (six walks in seven Triple-A innings)
Chicago’s light return can be traced back to its light investment. De Aza, who the White Sox selected off waivers from Miami in 2009, once looked like a promising young center-fielder, putting up a WAR 2.5 in each of his first two seasons in South Side. However, his stock has fallen dramatically of late, as posted just a .676 OPS after the All Star Break last season and has whimpered a .246/.312/.358 slash line in this one.