Jon Hunton who was the closer of the year in Venezuela,reached out to PRO Rumors earlier this week and explained that he is looking for new representation. Hunton, 29, had a strong 2011 season both in the summer and the winter leagues respectively.
As part of the Grand Prairie AirHogs (The American Association of Independent Professional Basebal) Hunton was named “Reliever of the Year” in 2011 (link here). Hunton went 7-2 with a 1.77 ERA, 25 saves, 47 SO, 0.4 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 8.3 SO/9 in 51.0 innings.
During the winter, Hunton was named “Closer for the Year” again (link here), but this time in Venezuela as part of the Caribes de Anzoategui. He was 2-4 with 3.16 ERA, 18 saves, 0.3 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 7.0 SO/9 in 31.1 games. Then he was selected as a replacement for Tiburones de la Guaira in the Final and was Francisco Rodriguez’s setup man. He also represented Venezuela in the Caribbean Series .
While Hunton was in Venezuela he left a great impression among the other teams, players and the media. He was one of the first foreign players to report and stayed until the last game of the Caribbean Series, his commitment with the Caribes organization and the rest of the league was undeniable.
I had the opportunity to watch Hunton pitch in Venezuela at least a dozen times this winter. The first thing you notice about him is his height, Hunton is 6’9” with a fluid delivery. He’s not a flame thrower, but he will keep hitters off balance with his slider, which has nice movement. Also, his 3/4 delivery makes all of his pitches move. I believe he is a great athlete in good physical condition (he used to play basketball in College), he is also a strong competitor and he definitely showed that in Venezuela.
Most of you don’t have an idea of how hard it is to pitch in winter ball. Fans are harsh with their players and they will let you know when you’re not doing your job right. You have to face strong competitors, not only young Minor Leaguers, but also Major Leaguers as well. There’s also a lot of competitiveness here but Hunton cruised throughout the season without a sweat. This league has chewed up and spit out countless top MLB prospects, but Hunton wasn’t one of them.
Hunton was drafted five times during the June Amateur Draft, the last one in 2004 by the Chicago Cubs in the eleventh round. During his eight years as a professional player Hunton is a career 34-27 with 3.18 ERA, 0.5 HR/9, 4.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 in 453.1 innings. In 2010, he was 6-6 with a 3.57 ERA, 0.7 HR/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 5.7 SO/9 in 63.0 innings for the A’s Triple-A team.
last offseason we had a Q & A with Hunton. Make sure to check that out if you haven’t.
Having the right representation can sometimes be the key to getting that tryout or invite to Spring Training that can open the door to a big league career. If you wish to contact Hunton you can write or follow him on Twitter (@Big_Jon_Hunton).
Image by Edixon Gamez of LiderEnDeportes.com.