2008 Cardinals Prospect #23: Blake Hawksworth

Was a rough 2007 in his first year at Triple-A an aberration or has the career of the right-handed starter, our number two prospect one year ago, stalled just short of the Majors?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: 2

Position: SP

DOB: 3/1/1983

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 195

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: Eastlake High School (WA)

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 28th round of the June, 2001 First-Year Player Draft. Signed in May, 2002 as a "draft and follow".

2007 stats































Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (26): Hawksworth's ranking nose-dived from 2006 when he was our second-ranked player. He struggled in his Triple-A debut season and ending up missing the end of the season due to a shoulder injury. While Cardinals' management downplayed Hawksworth's injury, calling the shutdown ‘precautionary', it is not good news when a pitcher with Hawkworth's injury history goes on the disabled list. Hawksworth also did not pitch in winter ball which would have increased his experience, an area that he himself said was lacking.

While he still has the opportunity to rebound from his disappointing 2007 season, Hawksworth is in danger of being by-passed by younger, healthier pitchers that can stay on the mound and get the job done.

Dustin Mattison (33): After making a strong return statement with his play in 2006, Hawksworth seemed to take a step back in 2007. Making his Triple-A debut, Blake really struggled, going 4-13 with an ERA over five. More alarming is his 24 home runs allowed in only 129 innings.

Blake seemed to put things together in May posting an ERA of 1.70 only to see the wheels fall off in June. He just could not seem to build any type of momentum before being shut down in August. "Hawks" has a low nineties fastball and a put-away changeup. He tells me that he will be ready to go in Spring Training and build upon his struggles of 2007.

Ray Mileur (17): I thought in spring training that Hawksworth was ready to make the big leap to the Majors at some point in 2007. Watching him working out with Chris Carpenter, if you didn't know any better, you would have thought that Hawksworth was the former Cy Young Award winner.

Once the season started, he struggled from the start, finishing with a 4-13 record and a bloated 5.28 ERA at Triple-A Memphis. On a positive note, Hawksworth did take the ball and make 25 starts, but he gave up an alarming 24 home runs in just 129 innings. To put that in perspective, he had given up only 20 home runs in his previous 348.2 innings pitched in professional ball. He has too much potential to write off just yet.

Brian Walton (15): Are Ray and I being too optimistic here, holding on to the past, or are we just not as quick as the others to hop off this prospect's bandwagon?

True, Hawksworth didn't step up in 2007 as hoped, but in hindsight, returning for a second partial season in Double-A last year instead of heading to Memphis from the start might have been a better route for the oft-injured righty. He only had 13 career starts at Double-A last year before his promotion and had posted a 9.00 ERA in spring training, so certainly did not come into the 2007 regular season on a roll.

So, let's see how Hawksworth does in his second chance in Triple-A in 2008. After all, this was a player that three of our voters ranked as the number two prospect in the entire Cardinals system just one year ago. (OK, to be honest, I only had him number three, myself!)

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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