With the addition of Nick Hundley, the Orioles have filled a void behind the plate and added a high character guy into the locker room. Get the skinny on the new O down below.
Name: Nicholas John Hundley Number: 40
Born: September 8, 1983 (30 years old) in Corvallis, OR
Height: 6'1" Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Drafted: 2nd round in 2005 by the San Diego Padres
School: Lake Washington High School (Kirkland, WA)
University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
Contract: $4 million in 2014 ($5 million team option for 2015)
Became an Oriole: Traded with cash by the San Diego Padres in exchange for left-handed pitcher Troy Patton on May 24, 2014
Nick is the son of Tim and Pam Hundley and has a brother, Jake. Tim has been a collegiate football coach since 1973. That is when he began as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Western Oregon State. Since then, he has had stints as a position coach at Oregon State, UCLA, SMU, and the University of Washington. He is now the inside linebackers coach at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV).
As a result of this, the Hundleys moved around a lot when Nick was a kid. He was born while his dad was coaching at Oregon State. They made some well-known friends with all of this mobility. The biggest one has a Baltimore tie. That would be football coach Rick Neuheisel, the former quarter back coach and offensive coordinator of the Ravens.
Coach Neuheisel and Tim Hundley were at the University of Washington at the same time. They befriended one another and their families grew close as well. In fact, Neuheisel would invite them to his Lake Washington-adjacent home to ride jet skis.
As was a normal part of his nomadic childhood, Nick attended two different high schools but he finished up at Lake Washington High. There, he was a four-time letter-man on the baseball team and was named "all-state" following his senior season. This caught the interest of the Florida Marlins, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2002. He declined and instead enrolled at one of the few west coast universities that his father had not coached, the University of Arizona.
Then came all of the collegiate baseball success. He was a "Freshman All-American" in 2003 and was named a second team All-American in 2005. He was again drafted in 2005, this time, by the San Diego Padres.
It would take Hundley parts of four seasons to reach San Diego. In two different years, he was lauded for his defensive prowess. Once in 2005, being recognized as the best defensive catcher in the Padres system. Then again in 2007 when he was named the best in the Texas League.
However, in that time, he went from the number eight prospect in their system in 2006, to completely falling off the map in 2008, the year he would finally make his major league debut.
That year of 2008 would continue to be lucky as Nick married his wife, Amy. The couple has been together ever since and now has a daughter, who was born last August.
Every holiday season, Nick and Amy have hosted "Shop with a Jock" at local Target stores in the San Diego-area. There, they help kids from a school for homeless children and let them pick out new shoes and clothes.
By all accounts, Hundley looks to be one of the most likable guys in baseball. He is continually positive and up beat. I mean, he just oozes good vibes. Check out what he had to say after being traded to the O's:
"If there was one place I'd want to be, it would be here," he said. "When (GM Josh Byrnes) told me I was going to Baltimore, it was really, really exciting."
He then added this.
"The winning atmosphere, great tradition...Unbelievable park, the fans and city. A storied manager, a guy I know I can learn a lot from in terms of getting prepared and running games."
He seems cheesy, but I love this guy already.
- animal: dogs
- outdoor activity: fishing
- sport(s) (besides baseball): swimming and racquetball
For the Orioles right now, Hundley appears to be the starting catcher of the moment. The reason is that Hundley is more of a classic catcher in that he can play some solid defense, but he is really not going to hit too much.
Over his career, he has thrown out 130 of the 470 stolen base attempts. That works out to a percentage of 27.7; not bad. Whereas Steve Clevenger has a career rate of half that; 13.3 percent.
At the plate, he is mediocre, to be kind. Maybe I am just spoiled by Matt Wieters' production in the early goings of the season, but some of Hundley's numbers are tough to look at, especially his on-base percentage. It is the same as his batting average. That's right, he has played in 33 games in 2014, and has yet to walk. Granted, that is only 59 plate appearances and many times he is coming into the game as a pinch hitter, but that is still ridiculous and not exactly a trait that the Orioles needed in another player.
He is hitting .271, but he has been pretty lucky with a batting average on balls in play of .333. That is bound to fall back to his career average, just below .300, and when it does, so will his batting average.
For his career, he is striking out 22 percent of the time, walking; seven percent. Both are sub-par. Though I'm sure Buck will again stick to using the righty bat, Hundley, against left-handers, it will still not make much sense. Hundley has managed a .199 average against southpaws in his career.
Overall, the move to get him was a necessary one and Troy Patton was expendable. However, this is not an impact bat. He is serviceable, can throw out some guys on the base-path, and is an upgrade at what the Orioles have currently, but he is no healthy Wieters.