If you thought 43rd-round pick Mark Hardy would be the first player of the 2010 Padres draft class to reach the California League, you made a ridiculous prediction…but have ultimately been proved correct.
Hardy, a 22-year-old lefthander out of the University of British Columbia, was very impressive in the Arizona Rookie League, posting a 3.29 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. He struck out 27 and walked just four, an excellent ratio.
Hardy also showed a great tendency to get grounders, inducing worm-burners on almost 60% of balls in play. He’s certainly taken well to pro ball despite unexceptional college numbers.
Hardy’s been jumped straight from the AZL to the Cal League, following in the footsteps of reliever Gary Poynter in that transition. It’s likely he’ll take over Erik Davis‘ rotation spot as long as Davis is in Portland, and it could well be just a one-start cameo for both pitchers at their new levels.
However permanent the promotion is, it’s clear that Hardy isn’t just a run-of-the-mill 43rd-round pick. He’s miles from the majors, and still faces long odds, but he’s shown good command, the ability to get grounders, and decent strikeout ability as well. That, combined with his big frame and left-handedness, should at least give him a few years in the minors.