Rick Vanden Hurk, starting pitcher
Can he help a major-league starting rotation?
Vanden Hurk was signed out of the Netherlands as a teenager, and pitched as a C&C (Command & Control) righthander in the Florida State League at 19. Then, he apparently hurt his arm, as he made only 12 starts combined at ages 20-21. After his recovery, he became more of a power pitcher, as his strikeout rated jumped from under 7 per 9IP to over 10 per 9IP. At ages 22-24, he made 32 major league starts and was pretty bad; in 166 major league innings, he walked 83 and gave up 28 home runs. In the minor leagues in 2010, he improved his control at the expense of his strikeout rate.
I saw him pitch one game for Norfolk, and he pitched brilliantly as a C&C righthander, giving up one run on four hits (with four strikeouts) in seven innings. If I saw the real Rick Vanden Hurk, then he could have a Rick Reed-like career, although he’d need to take advantage of his opportunities and not have a bad stretch until he’s established. Of course, he could also have a Ron Robinson-like career, one or two good years and then fade into ineffectiveness; or he could end up as an 4-A pitcher. I don’t think he’ll have success trying to blow hitters away.