Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: October 28, 1984
How he became a Twin: Drafted in the tenth round of the 10th round of the 2007 draft
During his collegiate career, Blair Erickson was very good, and sometimes very bad. After setting the NCAA saves record as a sophomore, Erickson battled injuries, and even lost his closer job as a senior. Still, Erickson finished his career as the NCAA saves leader for a career, notching 53, and is considered one of the better arms to ever come out of UC Irvine.
Erickson began his career with Elizabethton of the Appalachian League, and would have a very successful first stint of professional baseball. He appeared in 18 games, notching 11 saves, and would go on to strike out almost a batter per inning. Erickson also posted a 1.53 earned run average, and walked only three. He showed the kind of stuff that made him the NCAA career saves leader, and would set himself up for his first taste of full-season baseball in 2008.
During the 2008 season, Erickson would begin his season with the Beloit Snappers, and once again pitched well in a late inning role. Though he did not pick up any saves, he did finish out ten games, and struck out better than a batter per inning. He showed enough stuff to warrant a promotion, and he would end the season with Fort Myers.
With the Miracle, Erickson was stellar, posting his best numbers to date. In 32 games, Erickson had three wins, posted a 2.63 earned run average, and struck out 50 batters in only 41.0 innings of work. He seems to get better every time he steps up a level, and the Twins will likely make his a big part of the bullpen in New Britain next season.
Stuff: Blair Erickson has a good two-pitch arsenal, and has found his control of his pitches. He lost some effectiveness during his senior year of college, but he is back to being a lights out late innings pitcher. The young right-hander throws a fastball in the low-90s, but also mixes in one of the better sliders in the organization. He also has a nice changeup that keeps hitters off balance, and has the perfect make up for a late innings reliever.
Mentality: Erickson is the kind of pitcher who loves to have the ball with the game on the line, and he is one of the better relievers in the Twins organization. He has the confidence to throw any pitch in any situation, and the Twins love the fact that it does not matter what inning he comes in, that he will be very successful.
Projection: Erickson has a high ceiling, and was once a first round talent. The Twins vision him as being a reliever for them at the Major League level one day, and he has done nothing to make them doubt that statement. Erickson is likely to start the 2009 season with the New Britain Rock Cats, and could make his way to Rochester by the end of the season. He is likely a year or two away from the big leagues.