A's release Carson Blair

Posted by Jason Wojciechowski on July 20, 2016 at 9:40 PM

Baseball America's roundup of transaction notes that the A's released Carson Blair last week. Blair got into 11 games for the A's last year, which puts him way over the median for a 35th-round pick. He's still only 26, and he's a catcher, so he can probably hang around for a while bouncing around and backing up in the minors if that's the life he wants to live.

In his honor, let's do some draft fun facts:

  • Despite being the last pick in his round, he's the only 2008 35th-rounder to make the majors;
  • No 35th-rounders from any subsequent drafts have made the majors, not counting players who didn't sign and who were drafted again in subsequent years;
  • Remember A's reliever TJ Mathews? He was drafted in the 35th round in 1990, didn't sign, then went in the 36th round two years later.

Here's the list of major-league 35th-rounders from prior years:

  • Michael Blazek, 2007, current mediocre Brewers reliever;
  • Antoan Richardson, 2005, outfielder with 21 plate appearances across 2011 and 2014;
  • Drew Macias (real name: Andres Apolonia Macias), 2002, outfielder with 115 PAs from 2007-09;
  • Darren Clarke, 2000, 1 1/3 innings in 2007 with the Rockies;
  • Dusty Brown, 2000, 46 PA as a catcher from 2009-11, and one appearance as a pitcher;
  • Cal Pickering, 1995, 264 PAs at first and DH from 1998-2005, and a 96 OPS+;
  • Brad Holman, 1990, 36 1/3 innings out of the bullpen for the Mariners in 1993, and three saves, with a 119 ERA+;
  • Hilly Hathaway (real name: Hillary Houston Hathaway), 1989, 63 innings in 12 starts from 1992-93, with 12 strikeouts;
  • Steve Cooke, 1989, 549 2/3 innings from 1992-98, mostly as a starting pitcher for the Pirates; one third-place vote for Rookie of the Year in 1993, and a career 97 ERA+;
  • Hector Ortiz, 1988, 284 PAs from 1998-2002 as a catcher;
  • Jimmy Myers, 1987, 14 innings out of the bullpen in 1996;
  • Steve Hovley, 1966, 1,152 PAs from 1969-73 as an outfielder; and
  • Don Shaw, 1965, 188 1/3 innings from 1967-72 as a reliever (one start).

So that's the whole list: 14 major-leaguers who were drafted in (and signed out of) the 35th round. Putting them in loose order of impressiveness of career, I'd say it looks something like: Cooke, Hovley, Shaw, Hathaway, Blazek, Pickering, Holman, Ortiz, Macias, Brown, Myers, Blair, Richardson. You could flip-flop Blair and Richardson if you want on the basis of the fact that the latter hung around long enough to get two different stints in the majors. Blair's still got time to solidify 12th place, though, and even to move up to the top 10, though I can't imagine him surpassing Ortiz's 284 plate appearances over a five-year period.

Blair is the best 1,072nd pick of all time, though, and the best player out of Liberty Christian School in Argyle, Texas, the latter being a lovely Fort Worth suburb of 3,000 souls.