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Cameron Hobson’s walk out song for the Everett AquaSox in his first professional season of baseball was Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO.
I doubt that is the way a kid from Crawfordsville, IN wants to see an article chronicling their amateur and professional career begin but it really tells the story about what he carries with him on and off the field.
Hobson’s name appears on YouTube as much as some MLB players and if you ‘google’ his name followed by his high school the results that ensue seem endless. The love that follows this kid in the places he goes makes him very special.
Crawfordsville, IN is home to 15,910 residents including at one time a Wild West outlaw named ‘Curly Bill’, a civil war general nicknamed Beebee, and The Ultimate Warrior from wrestling fame. The town was also featured on the History Channel in a series entitled ‘Monster Quest. This is not your typical 199-year-old American Colony.
In 2005 Hobson pitched for the Hoosier North (IN) team in the Colt World Series. Hoosier North lost two days before the championship game in a 6-1 defeat to eventual runner-up Puerto Rico.
I only added this because I am going to tweet this article to Cameron and I bet he did not think anyone would find that schedule.
Let’s get to the baseball –
Crawfordsville High is where Hobson started to garner attention from scouts as his fastball began to top 90 MPH. Hobson is one of the lucky few that can play the game we all love from both sides of the ball.
In 2008, his senior campaign, Hobson batted .565 with 8 HRs all the while posting a 0.47 ERA with 126K’s in 59 innings worked. That equates to striking out 2.14 batters per inning over the course of a full season; yikes. Hobson would finish his Crawfordsville H.S. legacy with 51 doubles, third all-time in state, and as a state champion.
Crawfordsville High had never claimed a state title in baseball until 2008 with Cameron as their ace. They rolled him out on 6/4, 6/7, and 6/14 in the state regional, semi-final, and final contest and Hobson responded by winning all three games striking out 32 batters. But the winning didn’t stop there.
Making a note here that Cameron Hobson is not listed in the Crawfordsville High School Athletics Hall-of-Fame; #tacky.
Hobson went undrafted in the ensuing draft and signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Atlantic-10 school Dayton University in 2009.
In his freshman season with the Flyers Cameron would take home Freshman All-American honors, Rookie of the Year in the Atlantic-10, and 2nd team Atlantic-10 honors going 7-1 with a 3.43 ERA working from the bullpen and as a starter. He struck out 83 that season, 2nd most in the division, and locked up a top rotation spot for his sophomore season.
Going into the 2010 calendar year Hobson was seen as the 30th ranked LHP among a strong group of possible 2010 draftees featuring future fellow farm-hand James Paxton (3rd) and 2012 AL Cy-Young challenger Chris Sale (2nd).
In his draft-eligible sophomore season Hobson finished 4-5 with a 5.71 ERA as some college level scouts began to question his control makeup moving up to the next level. In the midst of this season the New York Yankees took Hobson in the 37th round as a ‘draft and follow’ prospect in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
‘Draft and Follow’ for those that are unfamiliar with the term means the Yankees, in this example, had the exclusive rights to sign Hobson up until the 2011 draft given he did not return to school full-time.
Hobson took some time following his sophomore season before deciding on whether the 37th round is where he would be immortalized by joining the Cape Cod League with the Orleans Firebirds. Hobson’s control returned as he finished the summer in 9 appearances (8 starts) with a 2.44 ERA striking out 27 in 44.1 innings while walking 17.
Click here for an interview with Cameron a few outings into the his Cape Cod League summer.
Cameron ultimately decided to return to Dayton for his Junior season with the Flyers and it sure paid off. He would later admit:
“I came back with a little more knowledge of what I have to do. … I was throwing a lot better breaker, a better curveball, and throwing harder consistently,” he said. “I was at 91 (mph) last year and hit 93 a few times this season. They liked that. And I had a couple games where I had everything going.”
Cameron improved on his sophomore season (do they have sophomore slumps in college?) going 5-6 with a 4.23 ERA sporting a much stronger 2.72 FIP while setting Dayton’s All-Time strikeout record for a season at 105.
The Dayton Flyers however failed to receive a berth in the NCAA tournament as they had the previous two seasons.
Amid his junior season, with his velocity up, the Seattle Mariners made Hobson an 11th round selection in the First-Year Player Draft of 2011.
He admits listening to the broadcast through an online radio stream with his family and girlfriend saying the process was “nerve-wracking” but ended well when Seattle called him shortly before he heard his name on the broadcast.
Of his climb up 26 rounds in the draft in just one season Cameron poised his answer the only way to describe it:
“I improved 26 rounds. … It’s surreal,” he said.
The Big Leagues
First stop Everett, WA; home of the AquaSox. Everett is the Seattle Mariners ‘Low-A’ affiliate and Hobson recorded this video upon joining the team.
In his opening performance with Everett Hobson threw 2 innings and struck out all 6 batters he faced.
Stop and imagine a kid entering to ‘Party Rock Anthem’ and then striking out consecutive sides in two innings; pretty sweet, right?
Hobson made 12 appearances for the AquaSox making his initial seven from the bullpen and his final five from the rotation. Hobson bested any of the numbers he posted in college going 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA stranding 76% of runners and recording 10.51 K/9 while staying in command at 1.65 BB/9.
His plus control and K/9 ratio was enough to convince Mariners Scouting Director Tom McNamara and others to start Hobson in Clinton the following season.
“I felt like I had a pretty good spring,” he said. “I think I am throwing the ball pretty well but the big thing is I feel like I have a better command of all my pitches. That’s the big difference. You are only going to throw so hard, then it’s about control and commanding your pitches. I feel like I have come a long way in that area.”
Hobson got the 2012 opening day nod for Clinton on a staff featuring Jordan Shipers, Stephen Landazuri, and Trevor Miller.
“I’m excited and I just want to go out there and do the best I can,” Hobson said. “I am not making a big deal about being the opening day pitcher. I don’t think that necessarily means I am any better than anyone else. I think it’s more I am ready to go.”
Despite allowing 6 runs in his opening day performance it did not take long before Hobson was again packing his bags and being promoted; this time to High Desert.
He exited Clinton with a 4.36 ERA striking out 32 and walking 13 in 43.1 innings pitched. Despite his ERA Hobson logged 3 quality starts in Clinton allowing just a .234 batting average against from the #1 spot in the rotation.
The California League is known for its ability to break the peripheral numbers of the league’s best prospects. Hobson has not been an exception to this point.
Hobson has appeared in 17 starts for High Desert in 2012 since his promotion from Clinton. His 5.04 ERA and 4.99 FIP tell a much different story than his game logs provide.
Take the first five starts of Hobson’s career in High Desert and forget about them; sweep them under a rug or denote them with an asterisk labeled ‘getting used to the
Hell Cal League’.
In his 12 starts since June 12th, he has thrown 7 quality outings, striking out over 15% of batters faced five times, all resulting in a 3.94 ERA.
In those same 12 starts Hobson has recorded 9 hit batters and 8 wild pitches.
Hobson has received the ‘up and down’ label since he plunked 21 batters his freshman year at Dayton University.
“Obviously, the goal is to make it to Seattle some day,” he said. “I just have one thing in mind right now and that is to pitch the best I can and see where that takes me. That’s really all I can do. Everything else is out of my hands.”
Scouts, analysts, teammates, and coaches seem to agree that if he can get his control to join his velocity in consistency he will be making the trip to Seattle before long.