Darin Clifford Blood
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lb.
- School Gonzaga University
Darin Blood was a pitcher who peaked at AAA.
College and Draft
Blood was 7-4 with a save and a 3.56 ERA as a sophomore at Gonzaga University in 1994. His junior year, he improved to 13-3,2.57. He led the Pacific-10 Conference with 145 strikeouts, led the northern Pac-10 division in wins and was second in the northern division in ERA (behind Greg Wooten). He was named the northern division's Pitcher of the Year. He tied for 9th in NCAA Division I in wins and ranked seventh in strikeouts. Baseball America named him as a second-team All-American, going with Matt Morris, Kyle Peterson, Ted Silva, Jonathan Johnson and Mark Redman as the first team. The San Francisco Giants took him in the third round of the 1995 amateur draft, the third of six straight pitchers they took. He followed Joe Fontenot and Jason Brester and preceded Russ Ortiz, Jim Woodrow and Joe Nathan.
Success in the low minors
Blood made his pro debut with the Bellingham Giants and did well - 6-3, 2.54, 78 K in 74 1/3 IP. He was second in the Northwest League in ERA, behind Scott Randall's 1.99. Despite that, he was not named one of the league's top 10 prospects by Baseball America - they chose two other Bellingham righties in Ortiz and Fontenot. He was also left off the All-Star team in favor of Travis Thurmond, who had more wins and strikeouts though a higher ERA.
The Spokane native dazzled in 1996 for the San Jose Giants with a 17-6, 2.65 record. He fanned 193 in 170 innings and allowed only 140 hits (just 4 HR), though he walked 71 and threw 26 wild pitches. He led the California League in strikeouts, wild pitches, wins, shutouts and ERA (a strong .69 ahead of runner-up Eddie Oropesa). The lone negative came in the last game of the league's championship series, when he allowed three runs in relief as San Jose fell to the Lake Elsinore Storm. He won the third pitching Triple Crown in league history, following Al Dawson and Rick Huisman. He was an obvious pick as one of the circuit's All-Star pitchers (along with Ken Cloude, Bill King and Rich Linares) and as Pitcher of the Year. Baseball America listed as him as the league's fifth-best prospect, behind Miguel Tejada, Jose Cruz Jr., Ben Grieve and Juan Melo and ahead of Ortiz (#8) and Adrian Beltre (#9). Blood led Giants farmhands in both wins and whiffs. He tied Ted Silva and Elvin Hernandez for the most wins in all of the US minors, tied Joe Young for second in strikeouts (7 behind Nelson Figueroa) and tied Eric Gagné for fifth in K/9 by a starting pitcher.
Doing okay in the high minors
Baseball America ranked Darin as San Francisco's 7th-best prospect entering 1997, between Steve Soderstrom and Jacob Cruz. Assigned to the Shreveport Captains, he was far less impressive than the year before at 8-10, 4.33. He struck out 90 while he walked 83 in 156 innings. He tied Bill Malloy for the most walks of a Giant minor leaguer and he paced the Texas League in that department.
Blood opened 1998 with the Fresno Grizzlies and put up similar number to 1997 (4-5, 4.66) after 19 starts. At the plate, he was exceptional, going 5 for 13 with two walks, two home runs, four runs and four RBI. He was then dealt to the Baltimore Orioles for Joe Carter and cash. Assigned to the Rochester Red Wings, he was 3-2 with a 2.48 ERA over the remainder of his only healthy year in AAA.
Blood had surgery in early 1999 and never returned to his 1997-1998 form, let alone 1995-1996. Back with Rochester for the summer of 1999, he bombed, losing all four decisions, walking 38 in 43 2/3 innings and posting a 8.66 ERA. He returned to the San Francisco chain in 2000 but bounced around the rehab circuit, not faring well with the AZL Giants (4 R in 3 2/3 IP), Bakersfield Blaze (0-1, 5 R in 3 IP) or San Jose (3 R in 1 IP). For the year, he walked 17 in 7 2/3 innings, going 0-2 with a 14.09 ERA.
After sitting out all of 2001 due to injuries, Blood made a comeback bid with the 2002 Yuma Bullfrogs but was not recovered (3-2, 7.40, 35 BB in 45 IP) and ended his career. Overall, he had gone 41-34 with a 4.27 ERA in 122 games in the minors, striking out 481 and walking 326 in 643 1/3 innings. In the two seasons in which he was allowed to bat, he hit .281/.395/.625 with three home runs in 46 plate appearances.
Sources include 1996-1999 Baseball Almanacs