Josh Hancock, a right-handed relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and former Boston prospect, passed away today from injuries resulting from a car accident.
Born in 1978, Hancock was drafted in the fifth round of the 1998 draft by the Red Sox as a starter and made his debut in 2002, jumping up from Double-A Trenton to AAA Pawtucket to the bigs in one year. For Trenton, he had a 3.61 ERA in 14 starts and one relief appearance, and for Pawtucket he had a 3.45 ERA in eight games started. He started one game and relieved in two for the Red Sox, logging a 3.68 ERA.
Hancock was involved in the first major trade for Theo Epstein, being sent to Philadelphia for Jeremy Giambi, who lost his job to David Ortiz.
Hancock had cups of coffee with the Phillies for two years before being sent to the Reds for Todd Jones and a minor leaguer. He pitched as a swingman in 2004, logging 54.2 IP of 4.45 ERA ball, before splitting 2005 in the major and minor leagues. He was released in spring training of 2006 for being overweight, and the St. Louis Cardinals picked him up.
Hancock was one of the Cardinals’ most valuable relievers, pitching in 77 IP, logging a 4.09 ERA and earning a World Series ring. So far this year in 12.2 relief appearances, Hancock at age 29 seemed to be emerging into a solid reliever with a 3.55 ERA.
He will be missed throughout baseball, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.