The D-backs are bringing one of their first-round picks back to the organization, signing right-hander Aaron Blair to a minor league contract, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). He’s repped by PSI Sports Managament.
Blair, 27, was a supplemental first-rounder out of Marshall University in 2013. He ranked among baseball’s 100 best prospects per Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 offseasons. But while Blair was a fast riser who thrived during his first extended looks at Double-A and Triple-A, his career stalled out upon reaching the Majors.
Arizona included Blair in the franchise-altering trade that also sent Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte to Atlanta in exchange for Shelby Miller. He made his MLB debut with the Braves in April 2016, but from 2016-17 he combined to allow 64 earned runs with a lackluster 49-to-39 K/BB ratio over the life of 73 innings.
Blair eventually underwent surgery to repair a torn capsule in his pitching shoulder in April 2018 — a procedure that wound up sidelining him for not only the 2018 season but all of the 2019 campaign as well. After pitching just 2 2/3 innings between the Majors and Triple-A over the past two seasons, Blair will face an uphill battle in pitching his way back to the big leagues, but he’ll do so in his original organization — one where he had more success than he did at any point during his Braves tenure.