Hamrick pacing Scrappers staff
Throw Caleb Hamrick on a desert island and he’d be content reading the bible and listening to a Trace Adkins CD.
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers right-handed pitcher is a die-hard Texas Longhorns fan and grew up in the shadows of the Ballpark at Arlington and Cowboys Stadium.
His favorite TV show? “King of the Hill.”
Yes, Hamrick is as Texas as they come. His boots, which he wears around the clubhouse, might be made for walking – but his cleats were made for strikeouts.
Hamrick has seven on the year and a .90 earned run average, leading the Mahoning Valley pitching staff and earning him the Tribune Chronicle’s first Scrapper of the Week honor.
“I feel like I have a really good fastball command,” Hamrick said. “I’m keeping my pitches down and have really good defense behind me.”
He took to the hill on June 18 for his first start in Mahoning Valley’s second game of the season. The Cedar Hill, Texas native retired the first 12 batters in order and, through the first four innings, he threw only 10 balls.
In Hamrick’s next start on June 23, he didn’t miss a beat and was perfect through the first four innings, again.
“I’ve just had pretty good command,” he said. “I’m throwing a lot of strikes and when you do that there’s not much batters can do expect be forced to hit it.”
But he’s only allowed four hits and opposing batters have just a .118 average against him.
Hamrick was an eighth round pick of the Cleveland Indians in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He was highly scouted by the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, too, but the Tribe always had the upperhand in Hamrick’s eyes.
“The Indians drafted me as a pitcher and the other two wanted me as a position player,” Hamrick said. “I’ve been pitching a long time and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
He was was named to the All-District team at Cedar Hill High, a 5A school – the largest division in Texas. In his senior season, Hamrick was 7-4 with a 1.95 ERA and signed a letter of intent to play at Dallas Baptist University. Sources said it would be a challenge to lure him away from the college commitment.
“I just wanted an opportunity,” Hamrick said. “It was a dream come true to become a professional player.”
Hamrick is 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds and has the pleasure of learning from another big guy, coach Scott Erickson.
“He’s taught me a lot about using my body and taking advantage of my size,” Hamrick said.
Despite his first two quality starts, the 19-year old just can’t get his way in the locker room.
“They only play Latino or rap music,” Hamrick said. “All day. And I listen to a lot of country.”
His teammates have just discovered the perfect way to mess with Texas.