Eligible for the 2012 draft as juniors, Nathan Dorris and Michael Hamann both gave gave up their final year of college for a chance to join the Cubs organization.
Nathan Dorris, LHP, 17th round, pick #524 Southern Illinois
One of three lefties signed by the Cubs in the 2012 draft, Dorris pitched well in both stops in the Arizona Rookie League and short-season Boise in the Northwest League. He made his pro debut on June 28, working a scoreless inning against the Diamondback in the AZL. In his seven AZL games, Dorris pitched 10 innings allowing just two runs facing 41 hitters, retiring 16 on groundouts. His best outing in Arizona came on July 5 when he worked three scoreless innings against the Angles allowing two hits with a strikeout. At the end of July, he was moved to Boise and didn’t miss a beat, as he pitched shutout baseball in his first five games, including two scoreless innings for a win in his NWL debut Aug. 1. He shared the closer role with Eddie Oroczo and his only blemish came against Yakima, allowing three runs, but closed out the NWL regular season with four saves. The Illinois native was tagged with the loss in the Hawks first NWL playoff game yielding a run in the top of the ninth, but gave up just two hits in three innings of relief. In the championship series in Game 2, he allowed a game-tying RBI double in the eighth but got out of the inning, pitched a scoreless ninth, and got the win when Wilson Contreras delivered the walk-off single in the ninth. Doris finished his first pro season working 24 innings in 16 games, with a BAA of .230 and a WHIP of 1.29. He had some control problems walking 11, but had 21 strikeouts and 34 GO as compared to just 7 AO.
An all-state baseball player his senior year at Marion High School, Dorris was a two-time conference player of the year and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 45th round in 2009. Instead of turning pro, he accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt but transferred to Rend Lake Junior College after one semester. He played two years for the Warriors and was named to Great Rivers Athletic All-Conference squad his sophomore season. In his only season at Southern Illinois University, he went 7-4 for the Salukis pitching 82 innings with 80 strikeouts, including a career-high 11 against Illinois.
The smooth throwing lefty stands 6-foot-3 and features a 90+ mph fastball to go along with a slider and change-up. He’s likely to start the season at Kane County and team up with Oroczo for a righty-lefty closing combo. Keep an eye on Dorris, as he is one of only 21 lefties in the Cubs minor league system.
Michael Hamann, RHP, 16th round, pick #494, Toledo
After signing for $100,000 on June 18, the 6-foot-3 right-hander made his pro debut with a scoreless inning against the Dodgers in the Arizona Rookie League. He was then sent to Boise in the Northwest League, making his first appearance on June 30 against Spokane, working a pair of shutout innings. The Ohio native ran into problems his next two appearances yielding eight hits and seven runs in two innings. He quickly got back on track with four shutout innings in two games and then got the final two outs of a July 24 game against Yakima for his first pro save. He threw two more scoreless innings, two days later but was sent back to Arizona to rehab after hurting his foot, a bone bruise and light sprain. He appeared in eight games in his first pro season, pitching 11.2 innings with eight Ks and a 1.20 WHIP. Hitters hit .250 against Hamann.
While starring at Danbury High School in Lakeside, Ohio, Hamann scattered his name about the Ohio record books for ERA (11th best at .27) as a senior, strikeouts in a game (21) as a junior, and RBI in a game (9) as a sophomore. A three-time, first-team all-conference performer, he went 7-2 with 116 punchouts as a senior, earning all-state honors. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 24th round of the 2009 draft but decided to head to Toledo University. In his college debut he beat Bradley and ended his freshman season at 6-3 with a team-high 78.2 innings, earning second-team All-MAC honors. He started his sophomore year sporting a 1.96 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 59.2 innings before a shoulder injury ended his season. Returning to the starting rotation his junior year, he led Toledo with 14 starts logging 76 innings with a 5.80 ERA. His best game of the season came against Xavier allowing just one unearned run with a season-high seven strikeouts.
Hamann is battling this spring for a ticket out of town to Kane County’s opener on April 4 in Geneva. His best pitch is his fastball, which has been clocked in the mid-90s, and at this point it looks like his future will be out of the bullpen.
This is the third of a series featuring the 17 pitchers the Cubs drafted and signed in 2012. It takes a look at their career before the draft, how they pitched after turning pro, and where they may start 2013. Its also serving as a free look at future subscription only stories that NorthSidersReport will start running soon.