After being drafted in the 23rd round in the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft, Eric Hacker seemed poised to have a breakout season in 2005, going 5-2 with a 1.60 ERA for Charleston before injury forced him to miss the rest of 2005 and all of 2006.
In 2007, Hacker posted good numbers for Charleston, Tampa, and even one appearance in Scranton with a 3.64 ERA in 136 combined innings.
This year, in 53 innings at High-A Tampa, Hacker was nearly unhittable posting a 1.87 ERA and holding opponents to a .205 BAA, earning Florida State League Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 14th. Tampa was a great environment for his development, Hacker stressed.
"Tampa's a great team," he said. "The coaches are great, [pitching coach Greg Pavlick] coached great. It was a great team to be a part of and bouncing back from last year, trying to pick up where I left off."
Hacker is considered more of a control pitcher than a power pitcher, pitching to contact early in the count and using his slider as his main strikeout pitch. He throws four pitches; a fastball [both two and four-seam], slider, curveball, and changeup.
While not quite up to his normal velocity this year, at the end of last year Hacker was topping out at 94 MPH with his four-seam but sitting comfortably in the 89-91 range. His slider has consistently been his go-to pitch, while the curveball is a newer addition to his arsenal.
Hacker has set goals for himself this year.
"I'm working on building up arm strength and I'm getting a lot more confidence in throwing any pitch, but the changeup is the pitch I'm really trying to develop."
In his first start for Trenton on May 28th against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Hacker allowed one earned run in four innings, walking three and striking out seven, and Hacker was encourage with his first effort at a higher level.
"The hitters were more patient than Tampa and I felt like I could set the hitters up better," he claimed. "I felt great, just trying to get my feet wet. Get in there and get to know my players, how everybody plays behind me. It was a good night. [It] could've been better and could've been a lot worse."
This never-satisfied outlook has Trenton manager Tony Franklin enthusiastic about Hacker's chances.
"This organization is blessed with a lot of talent," Franklin stated, "and he's another one that we're able to promote to a higher level during the course of the year. His first outing was pretty successful and we're looking for some good things out of him."
Hacker Locked And Loaded
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