RICK VANDENHURK
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
  Born: May 22, 1985
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2002 (Marlins)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Country: The Netherlands
Agent: Larry Strelitz

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILE

The Marlins signed VandenHurk out of their European academy.  He established himself as a prospect by pitching respectably in high A at age 19.  His development was interrupted by Tommy John surgery, which cost him most of 2005-06.  Afterward, Florida rushed him to the majors, a pattern they’ve had with a lot of their pitching prospects, quite a few of whom have ended up with the Pirates.  VandenHurk mostly struggled in the majors until a solid 2009 season, but Florida sent him back to AAA in 2010, then traded him to Baltimore.  The Orioles released him after the 2011 season and he signed a major league deal with Toronto, but the Blue Jays waived him late in spring training and the Indians claimed him.  The Indians then outrighted him at the beginning of April and he elected free agency.  The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal in mid-April.  His fastball has generally sat around 92, getting up to 95-96 at times.  He also throws a slider, change and curve, but none are considered plus pitches.  He’s a strong flyball pitcher and has had trouble much of his career with gopher balls.

2003
R:  2-6-0, 5.35 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 4.7 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

VandenHurk struggled in rookie ball, but as a European player who’d just turned 18 it wasn’t a bad showing.

2004
A+:  2-3-0, 3.26 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 58.0 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 6.7 K/9

The Marlins moved VandenHurk up to high A for 14 starts and he posted a good ERA, although his peripherals weren’t as good.  Considering his age, it was an impressive performance.

2005
A:  1-2-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 22.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
A+:  0-1-0, 4.05 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

Had Tommy John surgery and missed most of the season.

2006
R:  0-0-0, 1.20 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 15.0 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 15.6 K/9
A+:  0-0-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 10.0 IP, 5.4 BB/9, 13.5 K/9

VandenHurk made eight starts during his recovery from surgery.

2007
AA:  2-2-0, 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 53.2 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 10.2 K/9
AAA:  2-0-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 12.0 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 10.5 K/9
MLB:  4-6-0, 6.83 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 81.2 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

The Marlins brought VandenHurk to the majors in early April.  He got hammered in his second and third starts, though, so they sent him down.  He returned for three starts in June, then came up for good in mid-July.  He missed a lot of bats at all levels, but allowed a lot of walks and HRs (15) in the majors.

2008
AA:  3-3-0, 4.23 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 55.1 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 9.4 K/9
AAA:  2-1-0, 4.08 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 5.6 BB/9, 10.7 K/9

MLB:  1-1-0, 7.71 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 6.4 BB/9, 12.9 K/9

VandenHurk opened the season in the Marlins’ rotation, but he suffered a nerve injury in his right arm after two starts.  He was out for six weeks, then spent the remainder of the season in the minors except for two starts in July.  He pitched about the same in the minors as in 2007, despite the higher ERAs.  He had some gopher ball problems, allowing more than one every seven innings.

2009
A+:  0-0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 3.0 IP, 6.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
AAA:  5-2-0, 2.87 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 62.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
MLB:  3-2-0, 4.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 58.2 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 7.5 K/9

After pitching well in AAA, VandenHurk joined the Marlins’ rotation in mid-July and stayed there the rest of the season.  He had his one good stint in the majors, putting up an average ERA with much-improved control.  Longballs continued to be a problem, as he allowed better than one every five innings.

2010
AAA (Fla):  8-4-0, 4.68 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 98.0 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 8.0 K/9
AAA (Balt):  1-1-0, 2.18 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 20.2 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 3.0 K/9
MLB (Fla):  0-0-0, 6.75 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 1.1 IP, 6.8 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
MLB (Balt):  0-1-0, 4.96 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 9.4 K/9

Florida sent VandenHurk back to AAA; he made just two relief appearances with the Marlins.  He didn’t pitch as well in AAA as previously.  Florida traded him to the Orioles in a deadline deal for reliever Will Ohman.  The Orioles brought him up in late August and he pitched mainly in relief.  The results were better than the ERA indicates.

2011
AAA:  9-13-0, 4.43 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 154.1 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 6.3 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 8.00 ERA, 2.22 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 8.0 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

VandenHurk spent the minor league season in the AAA rotation.  He put up good numbers except for a lower-than-normal K rate and a high gopher ball rate (23 in 154.1 IP).  The Orioles brought him up in September and he struggled through two starts and two relief appearances, allowing four more HRs in nine innings.

2012
A+:  1-0-0, 6.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 6.0 IP, 1.5 BB/9, 7.5 K/9
AAA:  13-5-0, 2.92 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 123.1 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 8.2 K/9
MLB:  0-1-0, 13.50 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 2.2 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 10.1 K/9 

The Pirates sent VandenHurk to Indianapolis and re-worked his delivery as they had with Charlie Morton, moving him to a three-quarters arm slot.  The move worked out well as his velocity sat at 93-96 and he greatly increased his groundball ratio, which had previously been very low.  He pitched very well for the Indians and the Pirates called him up once they were eliminated from the International League playoffs.  He got into four games in relief.  He allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning in the first two, then threw a scoreless inning in each of the last two.  His velocity sat between 93 and 94.

Whether VandenHurk remains on the 40-man rosters through the off-season will probably depend on the Pirates’ evaluation of his pitching in AAA.  He pitched only once in the last 15 days of the regular season, so it doesn’t seem as though the Pirates were all that curious to see him face major league pitching.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MLB.com
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: League minimum
2012: League minimum
2009: $400,000
2008:
$391,500
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2003
MLB Debut: 4/10/07
MiLB FA Eligible: 2012
MLB FA Eligible: 2017
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: April 9, 2007
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
MLB Service Time: 2.005
TRANSACTIONS
November 14, 2002: Signed by the Florida Marlins as an international free agent.
April 9, 2007:
Contract purchased by the Florida Marlins.
July 31, 2010: Traded by the Florida Marlins to the Baltimore Orioles for Will Ohman.
March 30, 2011: Outrighted to AAA by the Baltimore Orioles.
September 1, 2011: Called up by the Baltimore Orioles.
January 24, 2012: Designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles; released on February 1.
February 22, 2012: Signed with the Toronto Blue Jays as a free agent.
March 21, 2012: Claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays by the Cleveland Indians.
April 4, 2012: Designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians.
April 6, 2012: Became a free agent.
April 11, 2012: Signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
September 10, 2012: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.