School: Mira Mesa High School, San Diego
Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (10): Deryk Hooker is the most exciting pitching prospects in this system and doesn't get his due in my opinion. Honestly, I am not convinced he's not the second ranked pitching prospect behind Shelby Miller. Hooker started the season at the Quad Cities where he was dominant. In 70 innings, the right-hander struck out 88 hitters while walking only 22. Not bad for a pitcher that didn't turn 21 until the end of June. He seemed not to miss a beat during his Florida State League debut.
Facing more polished competition, he still managed almost a strikeout an inning while posting an FIP of 2.55. Hooker kept his walk rate around three while holding opposing hitters to a .257 average.
He commands his low nineties fastball well and is capable of spotting it on both corners. Hooker's curveball is already a plus pitch while his changeup is solid average. Look for him to return to Palm Beach to start the season with a call up to Springfield before season's end. If all goes well, Hooker has the makings of a solid number three starter.
Message board community (23): Deryk Hooker's 23rd on the community list was a huge step up from 2009, when he did not appear in the top 50. I suspect that much of the 2009 (lack of) ranking was due to his suspension for a positive drug test. He did not make it past Batavia that year after having reached Quad Cities in 2008.
2010 was a serious rebound year. Hooker fanned 88 in just 70 innings at Quad Cities while allowing just three home runs and crafting a 2.83 ERA. He was soon on the way to Palm Beach, where his K rate was still a solid 39 in 41 1/3 innings, with nary a home run and a 3.27 ERA. It's interesting to me that he's given up so few homers, given that his ground ball/fly ball ratio was just 1.26 last year. Hopefully he continues the progress next year. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (23): Hooker returns to our prospect radar after a year away. Following a superb four-game debut with Quad Cities at the age of 19 in 2008, expectations were high. He made some personal mistakes, paid his dues in 2009 and seemed genuinely sorry while appreciative of the support given. 2010 offered the opportunity for another crack at the Midwest League and Hooker did not disappoint.
After being effusive in his praise of his starters Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly this past summer, Quad Cities manager Johnny Rodriguez still wasn't ready to put Hooker in the same class. Yet his respect showed in the bottom line and was repeated for emphasis.
"Hooker gets people out," Rodriguez told me this summer. "He doesn't light up the radar. He gets people out."
Hooker continued that in a hitters' league in the Florida State League for his final eight starts in 2010. Continued growth in 2011 could move me into becoming a full-fledged believer.
Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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