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MCB Top 30: #25 Kyle Bloom

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Proper Name: Kyle J. Bloom
Born: Feb. 21, 1983 in Schaumburg, Ill.
College: Illinois State
Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 185
Bats: R Throws: L

In five pro seasons, Kyle Bloom has yet to breach the Double-A level, but that didn’t stop the Tigers from selecting him in the first round of the Rule V draft. At 25 years old, the Tigers feel they found an extreme talent in the lefty after his performance in the Hawaiian League this winter.

Drafted in the fifth-round in 2004 out of Illinois State by the Pirates, Bloom gave up just 15 hits and 11 walks, while striking out 32 in 30 innings for the West Oahu Canfires of the HWL. Bloom found this success after going winless through April and May, with an ERA above 6 in 2008 at Double-A Altoona. Bloom’s then manager, Tim Leiper found a hesitation in his delivery.

“We took the pause out and that helped his arm get through the zone freer and easier, and he was much better,” Leiper said (BaseballAmerica.com).

Even Bloom noticed a difference between his second and first half performance. Through the last three months of the season, Bloom accumulated all of his five wins, and a 3.31 ERA from June on.

“The first half, I just didn’t feel comfortable on the mound,” Bloom said. “Something in my mechanics wasn’t right. My pitching coach at Altoona, Brad Holman, really worked with me in terms of my mechanics. We really tried to get back to the basics. Probably about half way through the season, it really clicked.” (BaseballAmerica.com)

Tigers scout and special assistant Dick Egan fell in love with Bloom this winter, and reported to Dave Dombrowski that he believed that Bloom was ready for the Major Leagues. After drafting Bloom, Dombrowski originally thought that Bloom could contend for the fifth spot in the rotation, but it is more likely he breaks camp as the second lefty in the bullpen.

Scouting Report:

After tuning his command and fastball this winter and in the second half of 2008, Bloom has really grasped placing his 88-91 mph fastball on the corners with great movement. Bloom also throws a pretty good changeup that is hard to pick up, because it mocks his fastball. He also throws a decent slider, that will most likely be canned at the major league level.

Despite having great command of his fastball, bloom has a tendency of losing control against hitters. In 28 games in 2008, Bloom walked 55 hitters in 110 innings (A walk every two innings). Even though this is the case, Bloom has the inside track on the second lefty spot on the 25 man roster, despite the fact that incumbent Clay Rapada inherited 25 runners in 2008, and only allowed two to score (8%-the best in the league).