Blake McFarland

From BR Bullpen

Blake Mackey McFarland

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Relief pitcher Blake McFarland played in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system from 2011-2017. He was signed as an undrafted free agent on June 13th of that year after going to college primarily as a football player (he was a tight end), then switching to baseball in junior college. The scout was Randy Kramer.

After a poor first couple of seasons (when he was used frequently as a starter) in which he posted ERAs of 5.32 and 5.68, respectively, he improved in 2013 by saving 18 games, posting a 3.72 ERA and striking out 49 batters in 46 innings in 48 games for the Dunedin Blue Jays - despite posting a win-loss record of 0-8. The turnaround was due to his acquiring a second pitch, a split-fingered fastball, which was taught him by Jays pitching coach Rick Langford during spring training; before that, he was relying solely on a mediocre fastball, which was unlikely to take him much further than the low minors. He made the Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star team that year. He pitched for Dunedin and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in 2014. His combined record was 2-2, 2.89 in 35 games with 4 saves and 73 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings. He continued his progression in 2015, split between New Hampshire and the AAA Buffalo Bisons. He went 3-3, 2.03 in 46 games with 16 saves and 72 Ks in 57 2/3 innings. After the season, the Blue Jays added him to their 40-man roster. However , he missed all of the 2016 season with an injury and in 2017 made only 5 appearances for New Hampshire before calling it quits.

In civilian life, McFarland is a visual artist. He took up painting as a hobby while in junior college and moved on to more serious work, winning accolades for his three-dimensional creations made of recycled materials, particularly old tires. His studio is located on St. Maarten, where his wife is a medical student. He retired after the 2017 season to concentrate on his art career, but not before starting a blog entitled "Minor League Grinders" in which he looks with humor at the indignities of life as a low-salaried career minor league player.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jeff Passan: "Meet the artist who's on the cusp of being a major league pitcher", Yahoo Sports, December 19, 2015. [1]
  • Jeff Passan: "How an Instagram account goes for laughs while showing the underbelly of Minor League Baseball", Yahoo Sports, July 15, 2018. [2]

Related Sites[edit]