Cardinals Prospect #2 - Blake Hawksworth

Hawksworth was named Pitcher of the Year by both the St. Louis Cardinals organization and The Birdhouse. Player Profile

2006 Ranking: 28

Position: RHP

DOB: 3/1/1983

Height: 6-3

Weight: 195

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: Bellevue (WA) Community College

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 28th round of the June, 2001 First-Year Player Draft. Signed to a 2002 contract on May 30, 2002. Received a $1,475,000 signing bonus.











P.B. 14 7-2 83.2 75 19 55 2.47 0.97 .247 1.12
Springfield 13 4-2 79.2 72 31 66 3.39 1.12 .248 1.29
Totals 27 11-4 163.1 147 50 121 2.92 1.04 .247 1.21

Staff Comments

Jason Scott (2): After missing nearly two years, Hawksworth returns to the top of the list after a fantastic year for Palm Beach and Springfield. Named Pitcher of the Year by both the Birdhouse and the Cardinals, he went 11-4 with a 2.92 ERA, striking out 121 and issuing 50 walks in 163.1 innings this past season.

Though his shoulder problems have dropped his once mid-90s fastball down to the 88-92 mph range, he still has one of the best changeups in the organization and a pretty good curveball. If the Cardinals would opt not to sign another pitcher and go to spring training with the club they have right now, I could see Hawksworth as a dark horse candidate for a spot in the rotation. Though not likely to happen, I'm sure the Cardinals will give him plenty of innings this spring to see what they've got, as he might be needed during the season. We will probably see him in September either way.

Leonda Markee (2): The Birdhouse's and St. Louis Cardinals' Pitcher of the Year is my highest-ranked pitching prospect.  Hawksworth entered 2006 having lost the better part of two seasons due to injuries.  He needed to prove that he could stay on the mound and produce results.

Hawksworth ended up tossing 163.1 innings between High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield which was good for third place in total innings pitched in the system, behind John Webb's 176.2 and Dennis Tankersley's 167.2 innings.  He averaged just over six innings per game start. Hawksworth compiled an overall 11-4 record in twenty-seven starts between the Palm Beach and Springfield Cardinals rotation.  His eleven wins were third in St. Louis' minor league system in 2006, behind Cory Meacham and Trey Hearne.  His four losses tied him for second place in fewest losses among full-season starters.

One of the more impressive parts of Hawksworth's 2006 season was his improvement with runners in scoring position.  He had runners in scoring position about 25% of the time at both Palm Beach and Springfield.  Under those circumstances, batters went .288/.379/.301/.681 in Palm Beach and .229/.288/.314/.602 in Springfield.  It should be noted, however, that Hawksworth's BAPIP in Palm Beach was a whopping .389 while it was just .273 at Springfield.  This indicates that Hawkworth was pretty unlucky on balls in play at Palm Beach and was just a tad lucky by that same measure in Springfield.  Still the improvement in his RISP numbers is noteworthy.

Hawksworth needs to show that 2006 was no fluke and get more innings under his belt.  2007 should see Hawksworth start at Triple-A Memphis and a call-up to St. Louis near the season's end for his first ‘cup of coffee' is likely if he stays healthy.

Ray Mileur (2): The Birdhouse's 2006 St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year comes in at #2 in our Top 40 Prospect countdown.

It seems like it has been a lifetime since Hawksworth was ranked by the Birdhouse and Baseball America as the Cardinals' top prospect. His career took a detour missing half of 2004 and nearly all of 2005 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Hawksworth, a 28th-round pick in 2001, went 7-2 with a 2.47 ERA in 84 innings with High-A Palm Beach before being promoted to Double-A Springfield where he had a 3.39 ERA and 66/31 K/BB ratio in 79 2/3 innings.

His fastball at 88-92 isn't as fast as it used to be, but I'm expecting him to get a little stronger this season and it is likely he'll be able to keep his fastball in the low 90s range. He also has one of the best changeups in the organization and a decent curve that makes him a legit top prospect.

I'm glad to see Hawksworth on the Cardinals 40-man-roster. He's still only 23 years old and its too early to say it is a make or break season for "the Hawk". Let's hope he can avoid the injury bug this season. If so, he's going to live up to his previous Top Prospect ranking.

Brian Walton (3): I ranked Hawksworth behind Jaime Garcia because he has managed just one healthy season in a row. Because of his many injury problems, including an ankle in 2003 and shoulder in 2004 that was slow to bounce back in 2005, Hawksworth went unclaimed in last December's Rule 5 draft.

The 23-year-old passed his make-or-break test in 2006 with flying colors, going a combined 11-4 with a sparking 2.92 ERA between Palm Beach and Springfield. Most importantly, he answered the bell for 27 starts.

If he can keep it up in Triple-A this coming season, Hawksworth could easily compete for a spot in the major league rotation in 2008 and after making his major-league debut come September.

STAFF COMMENTS KEY: Staff Member (Individual Ranking), NR = Not Rated

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