Joe Blanton is playing in his 12th season in Major League Baseball, and so far it is proving to be his best.
The former Kentucky Wildcat pitcher has changed teams 5 times since being drafted by the Oakland A’s in 2002, and it seems he may have finally found a home in his second stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Spending his first 10 seasons as a starting pitcher, Blanton retired from professional baseball in 2014 with a record of 85-89 and a career ERA of 4.51. His retirement was short-lived, however, as he returned the following season after signing with the Kansas City Royals and has served primarily as a reliever ever since.
We saw another great outing today from Joe Blanton, The Renaissance man https://t.co/2jiuAggCuK— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) August 13, 2016
This season, Blanton has made 55 relief appearances and pitched 59.2 innings in the setup role before the Dodgers bring in closer Kenley Jansen.
In his last 6 outings, spanning 6 2⁄3 innings, Blanton has not allowed a single run. His season ERA and WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) are both at career lows at 2.56 and 0.89, respectively.
Several starting pitchers have been able to successfully rejuvenate their careers in the bullpen, and it seems that Blanton may be the next name on that list. He will be a free agent at the end of this season, and the Dodgers will have to put together an impressive offer to keep him off of the open market.
After returning on Friday from the bereavement list, Blanton and the Dodgers look to retake the lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West as they head to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies.
Interestingly enough, Joe Blanton’s most famous MLB moment came while he was playing for the Phillies in the 2008 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Check out this video of the Edmonson County native’s first (and only) career home run: