Following up on his so-so professional debut in 2005, Reid Hamblet took his share of lumps this season. The Orioles knew he would be a bit of a project when they took the right-hander out of Biola University (which counts Tim and Todd Worrell among their alumni), but they hoped the 5th round selection would show a bit more polish than he has. Instead, Hamblet failed to record an ERA below 5.04 in any full month after April.
DOB: 9/11/83 Height: 6-1 Weight: 205 B/T: R/R
Reid Hamblet's age 22 season:
Fortunately, Reid Hamblet's arsenal is more impressive than his statistics. He throws an easy fastball that routinely sits at 89-91 MPH, even touching as high as 93 MPH. He also has great command of a deceptive changeup, which actually grades out as his best pitch. Hamblet's curveball is well below average at this point, lacking both depth and consistency. There are no mechanical flaws that prevent him from developing his breaking pitch, Hamblet is just a relatively raw product for someone drafted out of college. His old coach, former major league pitcher John Verhoeven, converted him to a more upright delivery. Orioles officials hope Hamblet will better demonstrate his growing comfort with the new and improved delivery soon.
Reid Hamblet's statistical profile shows a low strikeout rate, a high walk rate and a high home runs allowed rate. Despite this, he is actually a fairly strong groundball pitcher (1.27 GO/AO). The problem has been that Hamblet goes through stretches where he elevates his fastball too much, though he does generally work the edges of the plate effectively. He has also been working on improving his curveball to make it more than a show-me pitch, which has resulted in some hard hit balls.
Although some have speculated that Hamblet's power arm and two-pitch arsenal would make him more at home in the bullpen. He has demonstrated some ability to adapt to relieving, but the Orioles like him as a starter. Frankly, it's hard to find a 22 year old with a changeup as developed as Hamblet's, and the Orioles feel that he can build on that to become a viable rotation option. Spring Training will help determine whether Hamblet begins the year in Frederick or back in Delmarva. Considering that Delmarva is a much more pitcher-friendly atmosphere than Frederick, he will have to show considerable improvement to stay in the organization's plans. Nevertheless, he has the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter if he is able to master his curveball and stay healthy.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com