Hrbek fifth Otter signed to affiliated baseball this season

Evansville Otters relief pitcher Danny Hrbek had his contract purchased by the New York Mets this weekend.

“I always thought that Danny would get looks early in the season from affiliated organizations,” Otters manager Andy McCauley said.

“He has a plus fastball with good spin that keeps its plane through delivery. It’s very successful up in the zone that’s complimented with a wipeout slider.”

Danny Hrbek, from Allentown, Pa., signed and joined the Otters going into the 2019 Spring Training season following two seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization.

“When Andy (McCauley) told me, that I was going to the Mets, I got chills,” Hrbek said. “They were my favorite team growing up so it’s an honor to get the opportunity with them.”

“I can’t thank the coaching staff in Evansville enough for the opportunities they gave me.”

In his last appearance with the Otters, Hrbek earned a save on June 18 against the Washington Wild Things, sealing a 5-4 win for the Otters. He struck out two in an inning of work.

“The key for me this season was sticking within myself and not trying to be something I’m not,” Hrbek said. “That mindset has helped me tremendously.”

“Danny is a very composed, mature pitcher with a high baseball IQ because of his time as a hitter in college,” McCauley said. “He is a hard worker with a professional approach to his daily routines.”

Overall, Hrbek had five saves and a 1.08 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 16.2 innings pitched, making 15 appearances. The right-hander had allowed two earned runs total and zero allowed in his last seven appearances.

Hrbek played collegiately at Radford University before joining the Royals organization in 2017.

“I’m just going to try to show them what I have, going to continue to work hard and get better,” said Hrbek.

“I’m excited to get to work with a whole new group of teammates and coaching staff.”

Hrbek is the fifth Otters player to be signed to an affiliated organization this season and second signed by the Mets.

In May, utility position player Taylor Lane signed with the Mets organization after possessing a .348 batting average to start the season with the Otters.

Last week, starting pitcher Randy Wynne signed with the Reds organization following a 5-2 start with a 3.42 ERA and 47 strikeouts, and Jacques Pucheu signed with the Reds following one start with the Otters, going 4.1 innings pitched with four strikeouts and zero walks.

A couple weeks before that, starting pitcher Patrick McGuff signed with the Diamondbacks organization after a 5-0 start with a 1.04 ERA and 60 strikeouts.

The Otters have sent 79 players to affiliated organizations out of Evansville.