The Kane County Cougars, in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, have announced that Cougars pitcher Paul Blackburn has been named the Cubs' organizational Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May.
Blackburn, 20, went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA (6 ER/28.2 IP) in five May starts for the Cougars, walking just five and striking out 26, good for a ratio of 5.2 strikeouts per walk. He held the opponent to one or no runs in four of his five outings. Blackburn allowed just one home run on the month and recorded a .250 batting average against (27-for-108).
Blackburn was selected by the Cubs in the sandwich round (56th overall) of the 2012 draft out of Heritage High School in Brentwood, Calif. The six-foot, two-inch right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA (14 ER/54.0 IP), 43 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 10 starts this season. He has held his opponents to a .234 batting average, including a .159 clip with runners in scoring position, while posting a 1.06 WHIP (47 H, 10 BB, 54.0 IP).
Following the draft in 2012, Blackburn, then 18, pitched to a 2-0 record and a 3.48 ERA (8 ER/20.2 IP) in nine games for Rookie League Mesa. In 2013, he appeared in 13 games (12 starts) for Boise, finishing the campaign 2-3 with a 3.33 ERA (17 ER/46.0 IP) and 38 strikeouts. In 22 starts in the last two years, Blackburn has surrendered more than two earned runs just four times.