2008 ranking: #32
School: Mira Mesa High School (San Diego, CA)
Became a Cardinal: Selected in the seventh round of the June, 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
Selected 2008 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)
Dustin Mattison (25): One of my favorite picks from the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Hooker made the jump from the Appalachian League to the Midwest League in his first full season. At Johnson City, Hooker posted an impressive 55 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. The Cardinals felt him up to the test and skipped him a level to the Quad Cities. With the River Bandits, his strikeout totals would fall but the results were encouraging. In four starts, he posted a 1.61 ERA and he did register 12 strikeouts in his final 11.2 innings.
The California native commands his low nineties fastball on both sides of the plate. His curveball is a plus pitch while his changeup has the makings to be above average. Look for him to start 2009 at the Quad Cities with the possibility of playing at Palm Beach by season's end.
Ray Mileur (25): Hooker was promoted to Quad Cities from the Johnson City Cardinals on August 12, skipping the New York-Penn League after beginning the season at Extended Spring Training. As part of the JC Cardinals tandem starting rotation, he went 1-1 with a save and a 3.38 ERA in 11 outings (eight starts). Hooker racked up 55 strikeouts over 42.2 innings of work, while walking just 14. He finished the 08 campaign with a combined record of 1-2 with a save and a 2.77 ERA in 15 games, including 12 starts.
Hooker had some bad breaks with Quad Cities, in four games, he ended up with an 0-1 record despite a 1.61 ERA. According to sources inside the organization, Hooker will be given a chance to make the Palm Beach Cardinals club out of the Cardinals minor league spring training camp next spring.
Message board community (28): Hooker started the year in his second season of short season ball at Johnson City. While he pitched well there with a 3.38 ERA and strong K and BB rates, he really excelled after his promotion to full season Quad Cities where he posted a 1.61 ERA in 4 starts. Hooker is still 19 years old and most likely will start the year back at Quad Cities but there are many in the Birdhouse Community who believe he could be at AA by the end of the season. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (32): I'm not sure what about Hooker's 2008 impressed me more. Was it the fact that at 19 years old, he was pitching effectively in full-season ball or was it that he didn't miss a beat when jumping a level in the process?
Either way, the sky seems the limit right now for the Californian, who doesn't even celebrate his 20th birthday until late June. I asked Cardinals Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow what expectations the organization has for Hooker next season.
Luhnow replied that Hooker should be competing for a job in Palm Beach, but added, "We''ll have to sort it out. There's always some guys that make that club because of how they show up immediately in spring training and some guys have to go back to Quad Cities."
To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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