Thursday, February 8, 2007

Top Prospect Rangers

Eric Hurley

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 195
Position: SP
Bats: R Throws: R
Date of Birth: 9/17/1985
Birthplace: Sikeston, MO

Hurley was drafted in the first round in 2004, 30th overall, out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida. He wasn't as polished in high school as Bailey, although he did play against good competition and was well-known to scouts, being a teammate of fellow '04 first-rounder Billy Butler. Hurley blew high school hitters away with his fastball, but wasn't as advanced in other respects as Bailey, which is why he went later in the draft. He ended up out-pitching Bailey in the Midwest League last year, while gaining a reputation for maturity and solid mound presence. - John Sickels

Hurley pitched 155 innings last year for Clinton in the Midwest League, posting a 3.77 ERA and a 152/59 K/BB ratio. He allowed 135 hits with 11 homers. His K/IP and H/IP marks were good, but not quite as good as Bailey's. On the other hand, his K/BB ratio was much better, reflecting better command. In five starts in the California League in 2006, Hurley is 2-1, 2.75 with a 24/5 K/BB ratio in 30 innings.

Fastball: His fastball ranged from 88 to 95 MPH in high school and has developed into a consistent 91-93 MPH pitch as a pro, spiking up to 95-96 at times.

Breaking Pitch: His breaking ball (described variously as a hard curve or a slider) was erratic in high school, but has turned into an effective second offering as a pro.

Changeup: His changeup is currently below average but should improve. Hurley's control has been better than expected as a pro, although he still has problems with mechanical consistency.

Projection: Hurley projects as a Number Two type starter, not exciting scouts with his stuff quite as much as Bailey does, although Hurley is hardly a soft-tosser. He needs to refine his changeup and stay healthy to reach his ceiling.

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