Scouting Mets' Prospect #17: Shane Hawk

The New York Mets drafted Shane Hawk out of Oklahoma State University in the 4th round of the 2003 draft. A tall and lanky left-hander, Hawk has some fantastic stuff and projects to be a very good relief pitcher for the Mets. It's this reason Hawk ranks #17 among our Top 50 Mets' Prospects. Here's a scouting report on Shane Hawk.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Shane Hawk
Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: September 10, 1981
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 185
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Shane Hawk attended Midwest City High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma and was a standout pitcher as a junior, going 6-2 with a 2.90 ERA as one of the better pitching prospects as a rising senior in Oklahoma. With his stock on the rise, Hawk broke his hand in January of his senior year and was not able to get back on the mound until mid-March. He was still drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 40th round of the 2000 draft after earning All-State Honorable Mention honors by going 4-4 with a 3.88 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings in a short season as a senior for Midwest City H.S. Hawk was considering offers from Wichita State, Oral Roberts, Texas A&M, Kansas, and Kansas State, but settled on attending Oklahoma State after foregoing professional baseball with the Braves because it was always his dream to play for the OSU Cowboys and felt he could have been a much higher draft pick if not for the injury to his hand.

Hawk made a team-high 27 appearances as a freshman for Oklahoma State in 2001, posting an impressive 2.28 ERA in Big-12 competition. "It was neat coming in as a freshman and getting that much playing time", Hawk told NYfansonly.com. After such a successful year in his freshman campaign, the OSU coaches tried Hawk's hand at starting, a role he filled his entire high school career. Hawk made four straight starts for OSU as a sophomore before being moved back to the bullpen for his final 19 appearances where he started earning the reputation as a dominating lefty specialist as he held opposing left-handed batters to just a .205 average. He finished the season by not allowing an earned run in his final eight appearances and used it as a springboard to his junior year.

Hawk earned a Second Team All-Big 12 selection his junior year at OSU after going 7-3 with a 3.06 ERA and two saves in 22 relief appearances for the Cowboys. Larry Chase, the area scout who scouted him, told Hawk the Mets did not have a second or third round pick in the 2003 draft but really wanted to select him in the fourth round if he would sign. Said Hawk: "I told Larry that if they guaranteed me a fourth round selection I would definitely sign and I thought the Mets were great, especially when Larry said that to me". The Mets, who had no second or third round picks in the 2003 draft due to the signing of Tom Glavine and Cliff Floyd, made Shane Hawk their second draft selection by choosing him 109th overall and sent him to Brooklyn to get his feet wet after signing a little later that year where he even got in three starts.

The Mets promoted Shane Hawk to the Capital City Bombers in 2004 to be used solely out of the bullpen. Hawk proved to be a very valuable reliever for the Bombers and was later promoted to St. Lucie after picking up eight saves for the Bombers. After pitching pretty well in his first taste of high-A ball with St. Lucie, Hawk was shut down prematurely to help rest his tired arm as he had a "dead arm type of feel" in his shoulder. Despite a broken hand in high school, and bouts of tendonitis and overuse, Hawk has never had any sort of surgery in his young career. Hawk has shown a lot of versatility. He can be used as a starter, a setup guy, or a closer. Whatever role he settles into, Hawk has the talent and the track history to be a very successful pitcher for the Mets.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2004

St. Lucie

2-0

2

12.2

9

5

10

3.55

2004

Capital City

1-1

8

32.2

25

9

44

2.20

2003

Brooklyn

0-0

0

12.2

6

4

12

0.00


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Hawk has a 2-seam fastball that averages about 90-93 MPH and can top it off at 95 MPH at times. He has excellent control of his fastball and uses it very well to set up his devastating slider.

Other Pitches. Hawk's best pitch is his slider, which he's able to consistently throw in the 79-83 MPH range and can bring it as high as 85 MPH. When he's able to locate his slider, it's a mean pitch that is truly tough to hit and serves as his out pitch right now. He has great deception on his changeup, which Hawk throws 78-79 MPH. Hawk used to throw a curveball back in college but picked up his slider in the Cape Cod League the summer after his sophomore year at OSU. With as much success as he's had with his slider, his curveball has been on the shelf for the most part ever since.

Pitching. Hawk has great control of his three pitches and has shown to be one of the more consistent relievers in the Mets' system in his brief time as a professional. He has a plan on the mound and studies his opposing batters in great detail. He takes notes of the batters' tendencies and pitches them away from their comfort zones. Hawk is a devastating pitcher against left-handed batters but has shown very good success against righties as well. The times when he gets into trouble is when he rushes his mechanics and becomes a little too aggressive on the mound, throwing too hard. Working on his mechanics has been his number one priority and it appears things are coming together nicely for him.

Projection. A tall and lanky pitcher, Hawk projects more as a reliever and setup guy for the Mets. He has tried putting on more weight, eating right and hitting the gym hard but has had a hard time putting on more muscle mass needed to remain a starter. His durability issues pretty much guarantees he'll be used as a reliever where he excels anyway. Hawk projects to be an excellent left-handed setup guy out of the bullpen and depending on what the Mets plan to do with Matthew Lindstrom, Hawk is the relief pitcher with the highest upside in the Mets' system. At minimum, Hawk is the top rated lefty reliever with the highest ceiling. His combination of stuff and command rate him higher than Royce Ring and Blake McGinley, two very good left-handed relievers in the Mets' farm system. The only question mark surrounding Hawk is his ability to remain healthy.

ETA. 2006. The presence of Hawk, McGinley, and Ring give the Mets a few good options for left-handed relief in the very near future. If Hawk can remain healthy, he should have a quick rise through the minor league system. Hawk should find himself in the St. Lucie bullpen to begin the 2005 season with a possible quick promotion to AA-Binghamton later in the year. However, with his stuff and command, there's a chance he could begin the year in Binghamton with a strong showing in Spring Training. Barring injury, Hawk should make his way to AAA-Norfolk no later than 2006 where he could find himself up at Shea Stadium for a cup of coffee later that same year.

Relief Pitchers

2004 Team

Heath Bell

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Blake McGinley

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Royce Ring

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Kole Strayhorn AA - Binghamton Mets
Jeremy Hill AA - Binghamton Mets
Shane Hawk A - St. Lucie Mets
Matthew Lindstrom A - St. Lucie Mets
Carlos Muniz A - Capital City Bombers
Greg Ramirez A - Capital City Bombers
Celso Rondon A - Brooklyn Cyclones


Comments

The Mets are not abound with a ton of closer-type prospects in their farm system. The closer prospects with the highest ceilings appear to be Kole Strayhorn and Celso Rondon, that is if the Mets' don't convert a starting pitcher like Matt Lindstrom or Greg Ramirez into closers. They do have quite a few possible setup men and we'll go over some of the Mets' options below.

1) Heath Bell - Bell is mainly a two-pitch pitcher, throwing a plus fastball and plus slider with good command. After making some noise with the Mets in '04, Bell could find his way back to Shea in 2005.

2) Blake McGinely - McGinley, despite being a late round draft pick, has proven himself all along the way and has some of the best career numbers among all the relief pitching prospects for the Mets. He wasn't protected in the Rule V Draft and he's still in the Mets' organization. He deserves a shot at the Major League bullpen.

3) Royce Ring - Ring has a solid Major League fastball that sits in the 91-93 MPH range and can bring it as fast as 95 MPH at times. He mixes in a good circle changeup and solid curveball.

4) Kole Strayhorn - Has one of the more expanded repertoires for a relief pitcher, due in large part to his days as a starting pitcher. Like Ring, Strayhorn has a dominating fastball. He needs to improve his splitter and curveball to give him more options. Staying healthy has been an issue.

5) Jeremy Hill - Hill picked up the slack in the Binghamton bullpen, picking up ten saves and holding runs at bay with a 2.23 ERA for the B-Mets. Depending on what happens over the winter, Hill could find himself in a similar role with the Tides in '04.

6) Matthew Lindstrom - Nobody throws as hard as Lindstrom does in the Mets' organization...nobody! Lindstrom is a fascinating talent that is getting a chance to showcase his stuff in the Arizona Fall League this year. With a fastball that regularly sits in the 94-96 MPH range, he can top it off at 100 MPH at times. Used primarily as a starter up to this point, his future seems to be in the bullpen...possibly as a closer.

7) Shane Hawk - Hawk is a devastating reliever, especially to left-handed batters. A tall, lanky guy, Hawk was used as a closer in St. Lucie (somewhat) and Capital City. He projects to be a top-notch left-handed specialist out of the bullpen.

8) Carlos Muniz - The former Long Beach State star has progressed somewhat slowly as a closing prospect in the Mets' farm system. After saving 13 games for the Cyclones in 2003, Muniz combined to notch 10 saves between Brooklyn and Capital City in '04. At 23 years old (he turns 24 in March) he needs to be challenged.

9) Greg Ramirez - Ramirez has enjoyed success as both a starter and a reliever since being drafted out of Pepperdine in 2003. He led the Bombers with 10 saves in 2004 but also excelled when called to the rotation. Chances are his future is in the bullpen, possibly as an excellent setup man.

10) Celso Rondon - Rondon is an intriguing closer prospect. He has an MLB fastball and curveball. He picked up 12 saves for Brooklyn this past season and appears to be the front-runner for the closing duties in Hagerstown next season, if he's not selected in the Rule V Draft.

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