Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson looks like a man on a mission. Playing in Major League Baseball 2010—check, American League Rookie of the Year 2011—check, Gold Glove 2012—check. What can possibly be next for this talented, twenty-five year old Des Moines, Iowa native?
A fourth round draft pick by the Rays in 2005, Hellickson was drafted right out of high school. He soared through the minor leagues, making it to the Triple-A Durham Bulls. A shoulder set back in 2009 temporarily slowed his mark in the majors. But in 2010 with the Bulls, Hellickson compiled a 12-3 record with a 2.45 ERA. The Rays called him up to help them in the bullpen during their postseason push.
Hellickson finished 4-0 with the Rays in 2010, and that set the stage for his sensational 2011 season. He began the year being the Rays’ fifth starter, but ended it winning Rookie of the Year. In 189 innings, he was 13-10, 117 SO, 72 BB and a 1.153 WHIP. No too bad for a twenty-four year old, Hoover High School recruit.
A Gold-Glove winner in 2012, Hellickson plays outstanding defense. He finished last year with a 10-11 record, but his strikeouts were up (124) and his walks were down (59). It was a disappointing season for the Rays’ organization last year.
The future is bright for Hellickson with the Rays. They definitely want to keep him around, and he is signed through 2017. He is probably going to be the second starter behind CY Young winner David Price, and looking at Hellickson’s potential, we have to ask—what’s next?