Four starts into his major league career, Tampa Bay Rays’ righty Jeremy Hellickson has opened up eyes amongst fans and the opponents he has faced. In four starts, Hellickson is 3-0 with a sweet 2.05 ERA and an even sweeter 0.76 WHIP.

I had the opportunity last night to watch Hellickson pitch against the Oakland A’s and I came away really impressed. While he doesn’t possess the fastest fastball in the game (average around 90 mph), it’s the way in which he mixes it in with his changeup and curve and his consistent delivery on all his pitches that make him really effective.

What separates Hellickson from other young pitchers is that his delivery and release point is very consistent on all his pitches. That is what makes the 10 mph difference on his changeup and fastball all the more difficult to hit.

Take a look at Hellickson’s release point chart from last night courtesy of PitchFX. As you will see, it’s pretty consistent throughout last night’s game:

There is a very good chance Hellickson will move to the bullpen once Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann return to the rotation. Next year, Hellickson will be in the rotation full time and the future looks very bright for this 23-year-old.

Here are some other facts about Jeremy Hellickson

Age: 23

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

College: None. Went to Herbert Hoover High School in Des Moines, Iowa.

Drafted: Fourth round in the 2005 Draft

Minor League Stats:

2005 Rookie: 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA, 11 K, and a 1.17 WHIP in 6 IP

2006 Low Single A: 4-3 with a 2.43 ERA, 96 K, and a 0.91 WHIP in 77.2 IP

2007 Single A: 13-3 with a 2.67 ERA, 106 K, and a 1.09 WHIP in 111.1 IP

2008 High Single A and Double A: 11-5 with a 2.96 ERA, 162 K, and a 1.10 WHIP in 152 IP

2009 Double A & Triple A: 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA, 132 K, and a 0.89 WHIP in 114 IP

2010 Triple A: 12-3 with a 2.45 ERA, 123 K, and a 1.17 WHIP in 117.2 IP

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 17 out of 100 best prospects in baseball in 2010.

Analysis: “Hellickson’s a different animal from his future Tampa rotation-mate Wade Davis, but they’re quite close in overall quality. Hellickson has less pure power than Davis, but a better changeup and his own plus curveball to give him multiple weapons to get big league hitters out.

Hellickson’s fastball is solid-average at 90-94, and he’ll cut it to set it off from his four-seamer (which tends to be a little true). His changeup is a real plus pitch for him as he has improved his feel for it dramatically in the past two years, and he has great feel for his breaking ball—with the ability to elevate it or bounce it or throw it for strikes as needed.

Hellickson’s control has always been excellent and he has plus fastball command, but the combination of average velocity and lack of movement do limit his ceiling somewhat to that of a No. 2 starter—not that that is anything to be ashamed of, and it’s probably more than the Rays could have hoped for when they signed him away from LSU for $500,000.”

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Read more MLB news on