Sunday, September 19, 2004

Daily Prospect Report 9/19

Ben Hendrickson, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Drafted 304th overall (10th Round), 1999 Draft, Jefferson HS, Bloomington, Mn.
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'4", 190 lbs

Slowly, but steadily, Hendrickson has climbed through the minor leagues. With a low 90's heater and a great curveball, he entered this season with a career minor league ERA of 3.27, with 357 K's and 205 BB's in 413 IP. This was his banner year though as he humbled International League hitters. He rode a 2.02 ERA with 93 K's and 26 walks in 125 innings to the International League Pitcher of the Year award. He's struggled in his callups to Milwaukee though to the tune of 26 earned runs in 33.2 IP. I can't explain exactly why he hasn't pitched well in the major leagues. I can just tell you that all of his peripherals collapsed in his brief tastes of major league action. This isn't terribly unique though. The struggles of Dennis Tankersley are well documented. It also is fairly routine for even the best prospects to struggle upon their first exposure to the bright lights. I'm not worried about it. He looks like a very good prospect to me, one that is likely to slot behind Ben Sheets as a very good 1-2 punch for the Brew Crew. This might the kind of situation where it is best to take Earl Weaver's advice and use him out of the bullpen for at least a few months before letting him start full time. It might allow him to get acclimated before throwing him to the wolves.

Sadly I didn't get to watch Hendrickson in person this season even though he spent most of the year here in Indy. ETA is right now. He's with the Brewers for the rest of the season, and will likely audition for a rotation spot next spring. I bet he'll probably get it. He gets a sparkling 4 1/2 stars. He's a sleeper for next season.

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