With the Baltimore Orioles on pace to lose more 100 games again this season, Orioles right-handed pitching prospect Blaine Knight knows if there were ever a time make a name for himself in the team's farm system, this is the year to make his push.
"I think they're looking for guys to put up numbers and put up consistency," Knight said on
Glenn Clark Radio
May 23. "I think if you do that, which a lot of the guys in organization have, I think people are going to move."
"I think the fact that there is that opportunity, it's caused a lot of guys to really step their game up," Knight added. "Instead of feeling like, 'Oh you know, I'm going to be here for a couple years, I'm going to be here for however long.' They're like, 'If I do well, I'm going to move.'"
Knight, 22, began the year at Low-A Delmarva and posted a record of 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA in five starts. Since receiving a call-up to High-A Frederick, Knight has posted a 4.09 ERA in four starts. Knight noticed a change in overall talent when he jumped a level, making his job on the mound more challenging.
"... In Low-A, you can get away with a lot of mistakes. As a pitcher, you didn't get punished as much," Knight said. "In High-A, from what I've seen ... the mistakes that I made over the plate in Low-A that didn't get hit, they're getting hit now, and you know normally they get hit pretty hard. The hitters are better, they're a lot more patient at the plate, they don't chase as much, and they punish you for mistakes."
Before moving up to pitch for the Keys, Knight contributed for a Shorebirds team that currently sits in first place in the South Atlantic League's northern division with a 43-14 record. One of the pitchers with whom Knight shared the starting rotation was right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles' first-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Knight believes he is headed for big things.
Rodriguez, 19, has posted a 6-1 record, 2.63 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 48.0 innings pitched during his time with the Shorebirds.
"Our campers were parked right beside each other the whole time we were in Delmarva. I saw him literally every day and every night, I couldn't get away from the kid," Knight joked. "Everybody knows how good he is, and how good he's going to be. ... He thinks the same thing about the rest of us. It's just back and forth, keeping everybody's confidence levels up. Just kind of not saying what everybody knows."
The 6-foot-3, 165-pound Knight was taken in the third round out of Arkansas in last year's draft. He pitched in the 2018 College World Series against Oregon State during the best-of-three championship final, during which Knight faced Orioles 2019 first-round catcher Adley Rutschman.
"He's really, really good," Knight said ahead of the draft. "I really hope we do take him so I never have to face him again. ... He's really, really good at the plate. Very, very smart hitter and then defensively, everybody knows what he can do. He's extremely solid on both ends, and he just does everything really well and he does it consistently."
For more from Knight, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Patrick Cavey