Aaron Blair had been pitching well enough during his first full season of pro ball in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. The supplemental first-round pick from the 2013 Draft took it to a whole different level on Sunday in his fifth start of the season.
Arizona's No. 4 prospect was absolutely lights out for South Bend against Lake County (Indians) in the Midwest League, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He allowed his only hit with two outs in that frame, walking three and striking out 12 on the night. Blair got a no-decision in an eventual 2-0 South Bend loss in 12 innings, but he was able to lower his ERA to 2.56 on the season. While this was the right-hander's first scoreless outing this season, he has allowed just 17 hits in 31 2/3 total innings with a .148 batting average against. His 43 strikeouts now lead all Minor League pitchers.
Blair struck out at least one batter in each of his seven innings of work, striking out the side in the third inning.
Blair made 11 starts last season, his first in the D-backs organization. Between the short-season Northwest League and a brief stay in South Bend, he finished with a 3.14 ERA over 48 2/3 innings. He struck out 41 in that span, and he has struck out 8.8 per nine innings, compared with 2.9 walks per nine, thus far in his young career.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter.