Happy Helloween

In case you’re unaware, one of the biggest pitching prospects in Major League Baseball made his debut last night. It wasn’t met with the hype and festivity of Strasmas, but Helloween certainly did not disappoint.

Helloween, of course, refers to the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson’s debut came against a depleted Twins’ lineup – without both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau – but it’s hard not to be impressed by his performance. The Twins mustered only two runs off Hellickson on three hits, a home run, and two walks. Hellickson struck out six Twins, including three against Jim Thome, one of the best power hitters in the history of the game.

Hellickson flashed three solid pitches last night (Brooks Baseball has the Pitch F/X values on the game). His fastball drew five swinging strikes and sat in the low-90s. His changeup was nearly 10 miles per hour slower, and was a nasty pitch for Hellickson, drawing six whiffs on only 26 pitches. With 15 overall strikes out of those 26 changeups it could mean that the best pitch inĀ Hellickson’s arsenal is his changeup. He also showed a curveball, throwing a whopping 14 of 17 for strikes, even though “only” three of them were whiffs, for a still solid 17% whiff rate.

Helloween, for now, will be short lived. The Rays have already optioned Hellickson back to the minor leagues and will be bringing up first baseman Dan Johnson to shore up the bench and fill in for an injured Carlos Pena. That certainly doesn’t mean that we won’t be seeing more Hellickson as the season goes; right now, though, the Rays are set in the rotation and have no reason to stash a top prospect like this in the bullpen and possibly damage his development.

As our own R.J. Anderson reminds us, it’s only one start. But it’s one start backed up by a fantastic minor league career and an absolutely ridiculous arsenal of pitches. He’s not up for good, but he will be soon, and he could be one of the best, so get excited, fans of the Rays and fans of pitchers everywhere.

Print This Post

Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.

10 Responses to “Happy Helloween”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. woodman says:

    Dang you Rays, I have him in my fantasy league.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Mike B. says:

    Darn. Thought this piece might be about the German heavy metal band. Though Jeremy Hellickson’s debut was a bit more impressive.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. ray guy says:

    Seriously, what do the rays do with their rotation next year ?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. DonCoburleone says:

    And the rich get richer… This just isn’t fair teams should not be allowed to have so many good prospects! How dare the Rays not only compete with the billion dollar Yankees but can beat them!

    Where are all the baseball pessimists who do nothing but scream about payroll inequality??? “Teams like the Royals and Pirates just can’t compete with the Yankees and Red Sox because they don’t have the money!” And of course the inevitable football argument: “WAAAAAAHHHHHH! Its not fair! Why can’t baseball be like the NFL that is just nothing but crazy parody every year!” (which is also a huge myth – Buffalo? Houston? Detroit? – not one of those teams have been relevant in over a decade!).

    Bottom line is that Tampa Bay was a much bigger joke than the Pirates or Royals just 5 years ago and their path to success was much more difficult than the Royals or Pirates.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. JohnnyBigPotatoes says:

    The Helloween/Strasmus thing – Jonah Keri, right?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. bikozu says:

    I thought it started with Felix Day and Cliffmas.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Brett says:

    Helloween is a bit of a stretch

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. William says:

    The Texans also have been decent.
    It’s not like the Yankees are able to keep all their prospects at ridiculous contracts, buy up everyone else’s players, and avoid suffering despite having A-Rod’s albatross of a contract. Nah, everything’s real peachy in the MLB. Never mind that the Padres and Rays will probably not be competing in a few years.

    Vote -1 Vote +1