Cardinals Prospect Profile: Blake Hawksworth

"Prospects don't come any better than Hawksworth," according to a highly respected major league scout.

Cardinals Prospect Profile: Blake Hawksworth The St. Louis Cardinals gave Blake Hawksworth a $1.5 million dollar signing bonus back in 2002 to persuade him to leave college early and join their organization. At this point, it appears to have been a very wise investment decision by the Cardinals.

The 6'3", 200 pound righthander is already considered one of the top starting pitching prospects in an organization that is loaded with good pitching prospects. In fact, some scouts think Hawksworth is the Cardinals' BEST pitching prospect despite being in the company of other highly rated pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Anthony Reyes, Brad Thompson, and Chris Lambert.

Hawksworth features a 95 mph fastball, a good curveball, a great changeup, and has good command of his pitches, throwing them for strikes on a consistent basis. He is a very intimidating pitcher and easily overpowers most of the hitters that he faces.

Hawksworth played just one year of college baseball but he opened scouts' eyes wide with that one season. Pitching for Bellevue Junior College in his home state of Washington, Hawksworth posted a perfect 8-0 record with a microscopic 0.16 ERA. Incredibly, he allowed only one earned run in 56 innings pitched.

Following that phenomenal performance, the Cardinals selected him in the 2002 player draft. Hawksworth subsequently made his professional debut in the late summer of that year, pitching for the Johnson City (Tennessee) Cardinals in the Appalachian Rookie League before being promoted to the New Jersey Cardinals of the Class A New York/Penn League. He immediately flashed the same form that he had shown in college, winning a pair of games in Johnson City while striking out 61 batters in just 66 innings pitched and, after being promoted, winning another game and pitching 10 scoreless innings for New Jersey.

Hawksworth continued his move up the Cardinals' organizational ladder in 2003 and his track record of outstanding performance also continued. He went 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 10 starts for Peoria, striking out 57 batters in 55 innings pitched. Those impressive numbers earned him a promotion to Palm Beach where he picked up another win, compiled a 3.94 ERA and struck out 32 more batters in just 32 innings pitched.

In 2004, Hawksworth was shut down after pitching just 11 innings. He underwent surgery to correct a circulatory problem in his shoulder. That surgery has been deemed a success and Hawksworth has been cleared to resume his career.

A career that has been a great success up to this point. Hawksworth remains one of the top pitching prospects in the game despite last season's bump in the road. "He has the potential to be a staff ace at the major league level," one highly respected scout said. "Prospects don't come any better than Hawksworth."

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