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Rick Vanden Hurk

With five shutout innings and six strikeouts against the Cardinals, Marlins rookie right-hander Rick Vanden Hurk has now rung-up 38 major league hitters in 34 innings. Those kind of strikeout numbers makes it easier to ignore the rookie's 7.15 ERA when thinking about next season or the one after.

Henricus began the season at AA Carolina in the Southern league and pitched his way to the starting role in the 2007 XM Satellite Futures Game. In AA, he posted a 3.52 ERA in 53 2/3 innings with 61 punchouts. A promotion to AAA preceded the Futures Game. He struck out 14 in 12 innings.

Overall, he struck out 75 minor league hitters in 65 2/3 innings. While his aggregate BAA of .207 is very good, his HR rate is alarming. He allowed eight in those 65+ innings and has allowed another five in just 34 major league innings. Now the 7.15 ERA makes sense.

Baseball America ranked him 13th overall in the Florida organization in their 2007 Prospect Handbook and had positive things to say about him:

A converted catcher, he has been pitching for just four years but shows more polish than you'd expect - especially considering he had Tommy John surgery in 2005...Mound time is [his] biggest need...

The ranking indicates that Vanden Hurk's rise this season was not out of the realm of possibility, but I doubt anyone would have thought he'd be pitching in the major leagues and striking out enough major league hitters to conjure comparisons to Daniel Cabrera.

Year Team Age Level W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO K9 WHIP
2003 GCL Marlns 18 Rk 2 6 5.35 11 10 38.2 49 23 2 20 30 7.0 1.78
2004 Jupiter 19 A+ 2 3 3.26 14 14 58 54 21 2 31 43 6.7 1.47
2005 Greensboro 20 A 1 2 2.45 4 4 22 17 6 1 11 26 10.6 1.27
2005 Jupiter 20 A+ 0 1 4.05 2 2 6.2 7 3 0 0 6 8.1 1.05
2006 GCL Marlns 21 Rk 0 0 1.20 5 5 15 4 2 0 8 26 15.6 0.80
2006 Jupiter 21 A+ 0 0 2.70 3 3 10 5 3 1 6 15 13.5 1.10
2007 Car/Alb 22 AA/AAA 4 2 3.29 11 11 65.2 48 24 8 25 75 10.4 1.12