Kitsapers in the Pros: Updates on Hammel, Bloomquist, Cunningham, Linden, Prince and Vettleson

Here’s another installment of how our local major leaguers and minor leaguers are doing:

Jason Hammel

Position: P

Team: Baltimore Orioles

High School: South Kitsap

College: Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College

Drafted: Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 10th round, 2002

Birth date: Sept. 2, 1982

Update: In the midst of his best big-league season, Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Monday, July 16, and is expected to be out at least a month. The knee has bothered him since May. Hammel was 8-2 at one point, and received All-Star consideration as he was one of five nominated to be voted on to the team by fans. Hammel’s currently 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 109.1 innings. He’s allowed 97 hits with 106 strikeouts and 39 walks. If he comes back and pitches well, the big right-hander should be rewarded with a handsome multi-year contract.


Willie Bloomquist

Position: OF/IF

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

High School: South Kitsap

College: Arizona State

Drafted: Seattle Mariners, third round, 1999

Birth date: Nov. 27, 1977

Update: The return of Stephen Drew at shortstop has cut into Bloomquist’s playing time a bit, although the Diamondbacks are now using him at third base and also at shortstop. Drew’s struggled and there’s rumors that Arizona is trying to trade him. I also saw one report where Bloomquist could be traded. The 34-year-old’s stock has never been higher. After a solid 2011 in which he helped the D’backs win the  NL West, Bloomquist is having an even better year. He’s had four straight multiple-hit games, raising his average to .304. He was 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs in his last start on Saturday and is hitting .356 over his last 10 games. His on-base percentage is up to .330. He hasn’t hit any home runs this season after hitting four a year ago. He’s still aggressive on the bases, but he hasn’t been as effective as past years. He’s got seven steals, but has been caught stealing 10 times. He had 20 steals a year ago.

Aaron Cunningham

Position: OF

Team: Cleveland Indians

High School: South Kitsap

College: Everett Community College

Drafted: Chicago White Sox, sixth round, 2005

Birth date: April 24, 1986

Update: Used primarily as a defensive replacement in late innings, Cunningham’s played in 70 games and has just 96 at-bats. He’s finding out how difficult it is to hit when you’re at-bats are few and hard to get. He’s hitting .177 (1-for-12 in his last 10 appearances, which included two starts).


Todd Linden

Organization: San Francisco

Position: OF/IB/DH

Team: Fresno Giants, Class AAA Pacific Coast League

High School: Central Kitsap

Colleges: Washington, Louisiana State

Drafted: San Francisco Giants, first round (supplemental), 2001

Birth date: June 30, 1980

Update: It’s been a record-breaking year for the former major leaguer in Fresno. He broke the franchise record of most games played earlier this season. Linden set the franchise’s career home run record Thursday when he hit a second-inning homer in the Grizzlies’ 10-9 loss to Las Vegas. Linden’s eighth home run of the season was No. 80 for his career, passing Damon Minor’s 79. Linden tied Tony Torcato’s career hits record (530) on Saturday. After playing Independent League baseball in Canada a year ago, Linden’s return to Triple-A has been productive. He’s hitting .282 with 8 homers, 19 doubles, 4 triples and 47 RBI. He’s 11-36 (.306) over his last 10 games. He’s got a .370 on-base percentage and .449 slugging average. Linden’s been used at DH, first base and in the outfield.

Jared Prince

Organization: Texas Rangers

Position: OF

Team: Frisco RoughRiders, Class AA Texas League

High School: North Kitsap

College: Washington State

Drafted: Rangers, 34th round, 2009

Birth date: May 26, 1986

Update: It’s been a rough year at the plate of the Roughrider. Prince is 4-for-37 (.108) over his last 10 games, dropping his average to .219. He has shown more pop than in past seasons, hitting 9 home runs in 77 games.

Drew Vettleson

Organization: Tampa Bay Rays

Position: OF

Team: Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods, Class A Midwest League

High School: Central Kitsap

College: None

Drafted: Tampa Bay Rays, first round (supplemental), 2010

Birth date: July 19, 1991

Update: Vettleson, who just turned 21, is looking more and more like the real deal. Check out his report.  The former switch-pitcher — he pitched with both arms through high school —  was 3-for-5 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 10-9 loss to Clinton on Sunday. He had four RBIs in the game. He’s batting .310 (13-for-42) in his last 10 games and is at .290 for year with 9 HRs, 49 RBI and 16 steals. He leads the Hot Rods in hits (103) and runs (59) and is second in all of professional baseball in outfield assists with 16 (he had 10 in April, and Midwest League runners probably aren’t testing his arm much anymore).


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2 thoughts on “Kitsapers in the Pros: Updates on Hammel, Bloomquist, Cunningham, Linden, Prince and Vettleson

  1. Wasn’t there a Bob Vettleson who played baseball for CK? I think he was a pitcher, Class of ’70. His sister, Marlene, swam backstroke for the Bremerton Y when I was there. Are they relatives of Drew’s dad Jerry?

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