The Milwaukee Brewers were one of the few teams to actually do something at the Winter Meetings last December. By all accounts, they also did the most during the handful of days.
One of the acquisitions that Doug Melvin's team made in Indianapolis was that of veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins.
Hawkins signed a two-year deal worth $7 million which guarantees (as much as anything in a big league bullpen is guaranteed) him a spot on the roster for Opening Day.
Since that's not in question at all and Hawkins is new to a Brewer uniform, I figured this article can be a little bit of a career history lesson.
LaTroy Hawkins was a seventh round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins out of Westside High School in Gary, Indiana way back in 1991. I hadn't yet had my 11th birthday that year.
Signing quickly, he began to make his way to the majors finally debuting on April 29, 1995 at 22 years of age.
Originally a starting pitcher (as most prospects are drafted) Hawkins struggled to an ERA of 8.67 over six starts in 1995. In fact, Hawkins career ERA as a starting pitcher is a bad 6.11 over 98 starts.
Conversely, in 655 games as a reliever, Hawkins has an ERA of 3.29 and plenty of other statistics that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the switch to relief was the absolute perfect move for Hawkins to make.
After spending parts of nine season with the Minnesota Twins, Hawkins signed on with the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2004 season. That really began the pinball portion of his career.
After a good season in which he saved 25 games in 77 appearances with a 2.63 ERA, Hawkins was traded to San Francisco part way through the 2005 season. 2006 saw Hawkins pitch back in the American League for Baltimore while 2007 had him back in NL on the Colorado Rockies.
2008 was another bounce around as he started the year as a New York Yankee but ended it with the Houston Astros. It was that stint with Houston that goes down as his most effective. In 24 appearances, Hawkins posted a 2-0 record with a 0.43 ERA. He struck out 25 over 21.0 innings complete with a 0.762 WHIP.
Hawkins remained in Houston for the entirety of the 2009 season, again posting very good overall numbers. Over 63.1 innings spanning 65 games, Hawkins had a 2.13 ERA, 11 saves and a WHIP of 1.200. His ERA+ for that season: 197. When an ERA+ of 100 means you're exactly average, 197 is pretty good indeed.
Therefore, it can be summized that LaTroy Hawkins has gotten better with age. The Brewers are banking on at least two more good seasons in the sun from Hawkins. I think he's got it in him.
He takes tremendous care of himself and knows how to get the job done on the mound. If you need more proof than the last two years' statistics feel free to find them. They're definitely there for the ogling.
Oh, and in case you were curious, Hawkins ERA+ from the portion of 2008 that he spent with the Astros was 982.
How's that for aging well?
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