It is difficult to imagine that anyone who was in the midst of a career season prior to being injured would be a breakout candidate for 2023. Such is the case with Paul Blackburn and the Oakland A’s.
MLB.com recently came out with a list of rebound candidates for the 2023 season. It was a somewhat odd list of players, including a pair of rookies. Blackburn was listed as the A’s candidate to bounce back next year.
Paul Blackburn a case of injuries for Oakland A’s
As it is, Blackburn had his first extended chance in the majors in 2022. He performed well, being named as the A’s representative to the All Star Game as he was one of the better pitchers in the game heading into July. Blackburn had a 2.90 ERA and a 1.161 WHiP over his 87 innings through July 2, striking out 67 batters with 22 walks. It appeared as though he had finally arrived and would be a part of the A’s future.
That was not the case over his last five outings. Blackburn allowed 25 runs on 31 hits and eight walks over his final 24.1 innings, skewing his overall numbers. And yet, while those final numbers may not be anything that generates much hope, they were easily his best performance since his ten game stint in 2017.
His performance over the beginning of the season leads to the hope that Blackburn can be a solid piece moving forward. If nothing else, another strong start during the 2023 campaign could make him a viable trade candidate. But it comes back to his being healthy.
The A’s have other rebound candidates. The likes of Ramon Laureano or James Kaprielian would make more sense to be in that role. If they wanted to go with rookies, then JP Sears or Ken Waldichuk would fit. It seems strange to look at a pitcher who had a career year as a rebound candidate, but such is the case with Blackburn.
Paul Blackburn is considered a rebound candidate for 2023. However, can he really rebound when the Oakland A’s pitcher had a career year?