He wasn't drafted out of Portland State despite earning All-West Coast Conference second-team honors for a second straight season and leading the circuit with eight saves. So he signed as a free agent to become a closer with both South Georgia and Great Falls his rookie season. Since then he's been used just about every way possible as a sometimes starter, sometimes closer but mostly a long man out of the bullpen.
And the "long man out of the bullpen" is as close to anonymity as one can get in this age of million-dollar players. The fact that he will be in his seventh year in the system in 2008 and only real Dodger aficionados know him is certainly proof of that.
Las Vegas, as usual, used a number in the closing role but Hull was by far the most effective. Anything but the conventional type who comes in to blow batters away, Hull, who can fill just about any role required on the staff, was very successful in this one, piling up 11 saves while chalking up a 2.74 ERA in a league where anything under 4.00 is considered exceptional.
He finished with 11 saves, a 4-3 record and a 2.74 ERA for a club where most pitchers were fortunate to keep the opposition down to around four runs per game. He more than earned the LADugout's Most Valuable Pitcher award for Las Vegas.
He got a late call to Los Angeles and pitched in five games, three of them starts, finishing with a 4.05 ERA while holding Major League batters to a .174 average, topping everyone on the staff with the exception of the magical Takashi Saito.
He doesn't fit the standard 6-3, 215 pound vision most have of Big League pitchers. He's 5-11, 185 and, for doesn't have an overpowering fastball. At a casual try-out camp he would be lost in the crowd.
What he does do is pitch with remarkable effectiveness for he's usually around the plate, doesn't throw careless pitches often and always knows what he's doing.
Hull pitched well for South Georgia and Great Falls in his rookie season and, jumping to Vero Beach in 2003, had a fine season, recording a 3.68 earned run average, allowing only 82 hits in 110 innings and striking out 105. He moved into starting rotation on June 4 after 15 relief appearances and in five June outings, including four starts, was 1-1 with a 0.42 ERA, allowing one earned run in 21.2 innings.
But he slipped a bit in 2004, earning a 4.18 earned run average at both Vero Beach and Jacksonville. At Jacksonville, appeared in 21 games and posted a 4-3 record with a 4.18 ERA but in eight appearances (three starts) for in August, was 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA. He dropped his ERA to 3.38 in 2005 with the Suns but his foray into Las Vegas saw him hit hard.
He compiled impressive statistics in the Southern League Playoffs, appearing in two games and going 1-0, 1.38 ERA over 13 innings while recording 14 strikeouts. Following the season he pitched for the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League, helping them to the AFLChampionship.
Pitching most in relief in 2006, he allowed only 105 hits in 117 innings at Las Vegas and fanned a batter an inning, earning a spot on the Dodgers 40-man staff.
Then came his big season for the 51s, working out of the pen and saving 11 games. He didn't embarrass himself with the Dodgers in the month of September and, perhaps, will be able to earn a spot in the staff in 2008.
Over the first two months of the 2007 season (April-May), Hull allowed only three earned runs in 25 innings pitched for a 1.08 earned run average and in the 16 games, posted a 1-1 record, allowed 17 hits and struck out 34.
He'll have a new manager watching him in the spring, but one would hope General Manager Ned Colletti and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt will council Torre to base his opinion on how many people Hull retires, not how he looks doing it.
Eric Eugene Hull br tr 5-11 185 Born-December 3, 1979 at Yakima, WA Obtained- Signed as a non-drafted free agent 2002 year team w-l era g gs sv in h bb so 2002 SGeog 1-0 2.05 13 0 1 22.0 22 6 13 GFalls 0-1 0.00 11 0 5 1.2 4 4 17 2003 VBch 3-5 2.68 31 14 1 110.0 82 40 105 2004 VBch 3-1 4.18 9 9 0 51.2 48 8 49 Jack 4-3 4.18 21 8 0 60.0 70 28 39 2005 LVeg 0-1 7.88 2 2 0 8.0 9 8 7 Jack 7-7 3.38 27 18 3 117.0 105 44 117 2006 LVeg 2-4 4.19 44 2 2 73.0 54 43 78 2007 LVeg 4-3 2.74 49 0 11 65.2 59 26 81 L.A. 0-0 4.05 5 3 0 6.2 4 3 5