Kevin Hart Set for Major League Debut as a Starter: Who is Kevin Hart?

David WyattAnalyst IJuly 8, 2009

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Kevin Hart of the Chicago Cubs poses during photo day at the Fitch Park Spring Training complex on February 23, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Unlike football and basketball players, unless you are drafted in the first round, not many people will know your name.

Sure many people will know who Kevin Hart is now, well Cubs fans will know anyway.

However, how many people know who he played for in college and how he performed? How many people know which team drafted him and how he came to be on the Cubs' roster?

I couldn't answer any of the above questions, so I set off on a mission of discovery on Hart, just hours before he makes his first career start in the Major Leagues against the Atlanta Braves.

First of all, Hart was born in Cleveland Ohio, on December 29, 1982.

He played his high school baseball at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas.

Jesuit Preparatory school unlike most other private schools in Dallas does not compete in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial schools or the Southwest Preparatory Conference. Jesuit competes in District eight of class AAAAA, which also happens to be the state's largest classification.

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While playing at Jesuit, Hart was named First Team All-State in 2000 and 2001. He also played a major role in Jesuit Preparatory School's 1999 State Championship.

As a senior at Jesuit, Hart went 9-1 with a 1.20 ERA, whilst also contributing heavily with the bat. He hit .487 with 10 home runs.

After completing his studies at Jesuit, Hart decided that his future lay at Navarro College.

Hart would play two seasons at Navarro before transferring to the University of Maryland. While playing for Navarro, Hart was named to the First Team All-Region and First Team All-Conference teams. He was the 2003 AABA tournament MVP hitting .448 with 11 HR and 42 RBI. Hart went 9-2 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 81 batters in just 72 innings, while allowing just 12 walks.

With the 2004 season upon him and a new University to get used to, Hart made a contribution with the bat, while playing first base.

He would play in 44 games for the Terps, hitting .369 with eight home runs and 33 RBI. He would make 11 starts for Maryland in 2004 pitching to a less than impressive 3-8 record and a 5.16 ERA.

In the 2004 MLB Draft, Hart was selected in the 11th round by the Baltimore Orioles. He would finish the 2004 season pitching in the New York Pen League for Aberdeen, where he made nine appearances, all in relief. He finished with a 3-0 record and a 3.77 ERA.

In 2005, Hart spent his time in the South Atlantic League playing for the Single-A affiliate of the Orioles, Delmarva. He would pitch in 28 contests, compiling a 9-8 record and a 4.55 ERA.

In 2006, Hart pitched in advanced A-ball for Frederick of the California League, compiling a record of 6-11 and an ERA of 4.67, with a 122 K's in 148 innings pitched.

2006 would also see a move in Hart's career. Dec. 7, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for utility man Freddy Bynum.

The following year, would be the year of advancement for Hart. In 2007, Hart pitched at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels, before making his Wrigley Field debut in the major leagues.

Hart started the 2007 season at Cubs' Double-A affiliate Tennessee, where he started 17 games, compiling an 8-5 record and a 4.24 ERA. He was promoted to Triple-A, where he started eight games and pitched to the tune of a 4-1 record and a 3.54 ERA, including his first minor league complete game.

Late in 2007, the Chicago Cubs called on Hart to fill a void in the bullpen, where he appeared in eight games, pitching 11 innings, and impressing tremendously. He would allow just one earned run in his 11 innings of relief.

It seemed to Cubs' management that the higher he was promoted, the more efficient he became.

Perhaps he was a pitcher who needed an atmosphere to perform. The Cubs went into the 2007 offseason feeling quite good about themselves and the trade that had occurred a year previous.

Hart initially started the 2008 season back with Tennessee in Double-A ball. However, he made just one start as a tune up before joining Triple-A Iowa.

He would have his best season in Iowa, flipping between a starter and a reliever, making 26 appearances in total and 10 starts.

When he was called up by the Cubs, he had a 4-2 record and a 2.81 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP, his lowest WHIP in his minor league baseball career. This can be mainly attributed to a switch to a reliever.

However, when he was called up to the Cubs, he struggled extensively. His ERA was on the wrong side, 6.00, and his WHIP at 2.00.

In 2009, Hart started the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he again flipped between starter and reliever. He has compiled a 3-3 record and a 3.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. In the limited action he has seen as a major league reliever he has allowed one earned run in 5.2 innings pitched.

Today Kevin Hart is set to make his Major League debut as a starter. How he will do is any one's guess.

Hart has really clocked up the miles this year travelling between the Chicago Cubs and the Iowa Cubs. A right-handed sinker ball specialist is making his start at the right time with the Cubs' infield finally back to full strength.


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