Braves call up prospect Blair for rotation

Right-hander will make MLB debut in series finale with Mets

Braves call up prospect Blair for rotation

ATLANTA -- After spending the past couple of weeks legitimizing his status as one of baseball's top pitching prospects, Aaron Blair now has an opportunity to prove he is ready for the Major Leagues as a member of Atlanta's starting rotation.

The Braves announced Blair will make his big league debut when he starts Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Mets at Turner Field. The highly regarded 23-year-old right-hander cemented his candidacy for a promotion when he tossed seven no-hit innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday. 

"Everybody that has seen him likes him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Here's a guy who is going to compete. We're looking for a solid outing from him."

When the Braves removed Williams Perez from their rotation on Tuesday, they toyed with the idea of filling the void with Mike Foltynewicz, who made 15 starts for Atlanta last year. But the Braves opted to go with Blair despite that the promotion could position him to gain Super Two status and consequently gain an extra year of arbitration-eligibility.

"I got to know him in Spring Training," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "He's a good guy. He talks and wants to learn. He came into camp and made a good impression on all of us. I've definitely heard about what he's done in Triple-A. He's off to a great start and hopefully, he can continue that up here."

Blair surrendered 10 hits and three earned runs over the 19 innings in three starts for Gwinnett. Scouts have described him as a low-risk strike-thrower with the potential to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation asset for years to come. He brings a fastball that sits between 93-95 mph and an effective changeup that has helped him miss bats consistently in the Minors. ranks Blair as baseball's 54th-best prospect and the fourth-best prospect in Atlanta's talent-rich farm system.

The Braves acquired Blair, Ender Inciarte and top prospect Dansby Swanson from the D-backs in the blockbuster trade that sent Shelby Miller to Arizona in December.

"If he has good fastball command, it could be a fun day for him," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. "He'll definitely keep us in the ballgame. He's a very good competitor out there. He throws a lot of strikes. He's been doing real well. So, I expect good things."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.