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- August 2005 / Former Baron Hooks gets pro chance
Former Baron Hooks gets pro chance with Cardinals
In his four years as a member of the Brewton-Parker
College baseball team, Swainsboro native Ashley Hooks undoubtedly was an unsung
Hooks never received All-Conference honors as a four-year starter for the
Barons but was willing to play any infield position while also pitching. It
was his arm that ultimately earned Hooks the opportunity to play professionally.
After going unselected in Major League
Baseball’s annual draft in June,
Hooks signed a free-agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and is pitching
for their Class A Rookie-level team in Johnson City, Tenn.
Through Aug. 1, Hooks is 1-1 in 16 appearances for Johnson City, all in relief.
While his earned-run average is 5.68, it has dropped nearly a full point in
his last three appearances, in which he has maintained his allowing 21 runs
(16 earned) and just eight walks in 25 1/3 innings of work with 24 strikeouts.
“He started out rough and since has
been very good, so his numbers are a little misleading,”
Brewton-Parker head coach Chad Parker said, adding that teams’ signing
a rookie free-agent is rare.
“After he wasn’t drafted, the scouts stayed in contact with me.
They really didn’t want to use a draft pick on him because he’s
22, but they still wanted him.”
The Johnson City Cardinals play in the Appalachian
League, which also includes the Danville (Va.) Braves, for whom former Brewton-Parker
left-hander and 2004
Atlanta draftee Johnnie “Trae” Wiggins is currently assigned.
Wiggins opened the season at upper Class A Rome (Ga.) but has been injured.
However, Parker said he expected Wiggins to be healthy for series between Johnson
City and Danville on Aug. 19-21 at Johnson City and Aug. 25-27 in Danville.
On the mound as a senior at Brewton-Parker, Hooks was 5-5 with a 4.25 ERA
with five complete games in 14 appearances (13 starts). In 89 innings, he allowed
98 hits and 54 runs (42 earned) with 93 strikeouts and 22 walks.
Offensively, Hooks was the Barons’ second-leading
hitter with a .366 average with 60 hits, six home runs and 36 runs batted
in. He also drew 27
walks and had a team-leading on-base percentage among regulars at .457.
When he was not on the mound, Hooks played primarily at first base as a senior,
after having spent other seasons at third base, shortstop and second base.
He also was a designated hitter.
“He was always doing so many things for us, that if he had concentrated
on any one position, he would’ve been the best in the league at that
position,” Parker said. “Everybody respected him as one of the
best players in the conference, but he never put up the numbers to get the