Blewett: In high school, you have a lot of three-sport athletes up there. For me, I ran cross country in the fall, in the winter I played basketball and in the spring, I played baseball. When you're in the south or in California, you have guys playing baseball year-round. Once you get to pro ball, it's a huge difference because you're playing 24/7. Being from the Northeast, I spend most of my offseason out here because you can't get outside. We can get the work in we need to do and keep your focus where you need to be. Being out here is a big difference.
MLBPipeline.com: When you entered pro ball, did you feel you had to play some catch up?
Blewett: My work ethic from high school to here has only gotten better. Playing catch up? Maybe a little in terms of the hitters you face, because they are better. But I think that's true for everyone coming out of high school jumping into pro ball. I don't think I had to play catch up that much. Yes, the competition wasn't nearly as good in the Northeast as it is anywhere else, but staying focused and doing what I needed to do helped me a lot. I think I jumped right into it and I realized that I can hang with these guys like anybody else can.
MLBPipeline.com: You repeated Lexington in 2016. Everyone obviously wants to move up, but sometimes repeating a level can be a good thing. What did you find was the benefit of going back to the South Atlantic League?
Blewett: Going back there, being a second-year guy, you get to take on some leadership. I could teach some of the guys who were in their first year there, kind of show them the ropes. I could be a team leader there. The first half of the season last year, we were working on some mechanical things. Once the second half rolled around, we started to win some games as a team, and personally, I thought I started throwing the ball a lot better, got the mechanics down. That's been a thing all through pro ball: There's always something to work on to get better. The ultimate goal is to get to the big leagues, so working on those things now will be something that helps me down the road.
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MLBPipeline.com: That stretch in the second half, is that the best you've thrown since you've joined the organization? What were the mechanical things you worked on to improve?
Blewett: Definitely. I felt comfortable up there, confident. It felt that everything was going my way. There are going to be ups and downs, I had a couple of bad outings in the second half, but I didn't let it affect me because I knew I could get right back on track to where I was before. I was just getting my lower and upper halves in sync and my direction to the plate. I started to stay taller, using my height and not dropping down to a 6-1 or 6-2 pitcher when I can be a 6-6 pitcher. That was big. I was throwing the ball downhill. My curveball was a lot sharper. Everything was just more efficient.
MLBPipeline.com: When you're as big as you are, there are a lot of moving parts, a lot more can go wrong mechanically. Was the second half a point where you just felt natural with your mechanics?
Blewett: Repeating your delivery is probably the biggest thing as a big man and especially when you're doing tweaks here and there, it's going to take some time to make that adjustment. It could take closer to a month, especially when you're doing it during the season on the fly. It's going to be a progression.