Baltimore Orioles: The details on pitcher Jeremy Hellickson
In recent MLB trade deadline news, the Baltimore Orioles acquired starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies.
This Baltimore Orioles trade came as a surprise as Dan Duquette sent Hyun Soo Kim and a minor league reliever to the Phillies in this exchange.
Since the Phillies currently have the worst record in the MLB, fans are wondering if taking one their pitchers can actually help the O’s get more wins.
So, who is this new right-handed pitcher and what made him so attractive to Dan Duquette?
The 30-year-old Hellickson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005 right out of high school in Des Moines, IA. He made his MLB debut in August of 2010 for the Rays and pitched rather well on his first day throwing in seven innings, giving up three hits, two walks, and two earned runs. He struck out six. Not too bad for a debut.
Hellickson has played for three teams in his eight-year career. He threw for the Rays in five of the seasons. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014, then was traded to the Phillies in 2015.
Hellickson has received a few honors in his short career, but the most notable was the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year award. His competition that year included Mark Trumbo and Eric Hosmer. Trumbo finished second in the voting. On the NL side of thing, Craig Kimbrel won that same year.
In 2012, Hellickson was awarded a Gold Glove. He has regularly been at the top when it comes to fielding his position. He is currently at a 1.000 fielding percentage along with 20 other NL pitchers. He will be added to the list that currently sits at 12 pitchers with 1.000 fielding percentages where he will join Kevin Gausman.
Report from the Phillies
Hellickson was a well-liked pitcher with the Phillies. In an article written by Matt Breen on Philly.com, the Phillies’ general manager Mike Klentak said:
"“At the time we acquired him, we talked about the importance of stability. He joined a young and unproven rotation. For the last year and a half, he has delivered incredible stability to this pitching staff. He has held up his end of the bargain magnificently."
This is good news for Orioles’ fans who would all like to see their beloved Birds add a few W’s to the record. This season, the Phillies named Hellickson their Opening Day starter, these were his thoughts on the honor:
Hellickson brings with him a $17.2 million salary with free agency approaching at the end of this season. Since the trade included cash considerations, the Phillies most likely included some money to cover that pricey contract.
Despite the fact that the Phillies have an awful record, their pitchers are not horrible. Hellickson has the most starts and his ERA was in the middle of the Phillies’ pack. He pitched 112.1 innings with 59 earned runs with 22 of them being home runs. Hitters have an average of .261 against him.
In 2014, Hellickson missed the start of the season due to an elbow injury. After a 5.17 ERA in 2013, it was clear that something was wrong. And, when he returned to the Rays for spring training in 2014, that “something” continued. He couldn’t straighten his elbow after a few bullpen sessions. The fix was arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow joint. He returned to the Rays in July of that year and finished the season with a 4.52 ERA. He never pitched more than 6.1 innings that season.
Hellickson has pitched two shutouts, one in each league. His most recent was in 2016, which was the same game he threw his first complete game. On September 17, 2016, the Phillies defeated the Miami Marlins 8-0. That day, Hellickson gave up three hits and struck out five. He threw 106 pitches that day.
In 2017, Hellickson has thrown an average of 5 1/2 innings per game. His highest pitch count with the Phillies was 103, which he threw in 5.1 innings in a 9-7 win against the San Francisco Giants on June 4. Of his 20 starts, he has only pitched four games where he has not given up a home run. (But in this year of home runs, what pitcher doesn’t give them up in nearly every game?)
Velocity and pitches
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According to the Fangraphs page about Hellickson, he averages just under six strike outs per nine innings. He also walks 2.40 batters per nine, also. His BABIP is .255, which is the lowest in his career.
Speed-wise, Hellickson’s fastball averages 90.2 MPH and he throws it about 50% of the time. His second favorite pitch is his changeup. He throws it about 30% of the time and the pitch has an average velocity of 80.2 MPH. He also has a curveball and a cutter. The curve averages 76.7 MPH and the cutter comes in around 86.5 MPH. He has never been a high-velocity pitcher, instead relying on placement for his effectiveness.
Next: Orioles trade deadline action with the Phillies
At age 30, Hellickson appears to be in a satisfying groove as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Now that Hellickson is a member of the O’s, when will he make his first start and who will he replace?