Dec
10

Prospect Profile: Jamie Hoffmann

By

Jamie Hoffmann

Jamie Hoffmann | OF

Background
Hoffmann was raised in New Ulm, Minnesota, which is about 100 miles southwest of Minneapolis. He starred in both baseball and hockey for New Ulm High, being named Minnesota Baseball Player of the Year as a junior and leading the school to the state championship as a senior. After playing in the United States Hockey League during the 2002-2003 season, the Carolina Hurricanes selected Hoffmann in the 8th round of the 2003 NHL Draft, however he went undrafted in baseball. He almost went to Colorado College to play hockey, but ended up signing with the Dodgers as an undrafted free agent in August of 2003.

Pro Career
After starting the 2004 season in Extended Spring Training, the Dodgers sent Hoffmann to their rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliate. He led the circuit in hits (71), runs scored (40), triples (7), total bases (105), and runs batted in (36), and was named to the All Star Team as a third baseman.

Assigned to Low-A Columbus to begin the 2005 season, Hoffmann moved to the outfield and hit.308-.383-.414 with 10 steals before being bumped up to High-A Vero Beach mid-season. He hit just .241-.287-.319 with the Baby Dodgers, and .285-.351-.382 overall. Baseball America rated him Los Angeles’ 27th best prospect after the season.

Sent back to Vero Beach in 2006, Hoffmann stayed there all year and hit .252-.309-.323 with just 21 extra base hits in 492 plate appearances. The Dodgers again assigned him to High-A to begin the 2007 season, however their new affiliate was located in Inland Empire, California. The move to the hitter friendly Cal League clearly boosted Hoffmann’s game, as he hit .309-.378-.455 in his season there.

Finally ready to be bumped up a level, Hoffmann hit .278-.350-.395 for Double-A Jacksonville in 2008, and was named the organization’s 22nd best prospect by Baseball America after the season. The Dodgers sent Hoffmann to their new Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga to start the 2009 season, however he forced a promotion to Triple-A by hitting .307-.457-.495 in his first 127 plate appearances. After just eight games with Triple-A Albuquerque, during which he hit .257-.366-.457, Hoffmann was summoned to the big leagues in mid-May because Manny Ramirez’s PED suspension left the Dodgers short in the outfield.

After two uneventful pinch hitting appearances, Hoffmann took Matt Palmer of the Angels deep in the first at-bat of his first start for his first Major League hit in the third big league game of his career. He later drove in a run with a double off Darren Oliver in the 7th. Hoffmann went 3-for-8 with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI in his first two career starts on May 25th and 26th, so naturally Joe Torre kept him glued to the bench for the team’s next five games. His big league stint lasted just 19 days and 24 plate appearances, during which he hit .182-.167-.409.

Sent back to Triple-A in early June, Hoffmann hit .288-.363-.455 the rest of the way. He was designated for assignment on Sept. 1st to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for the newly acquired Jon Garland. Hoffmann was left off the 40-man roster during the offseason, and the Yankees arranged for the Nationals to select him with the first overall pick of the 2009 Rule 5 Draft and send him to the Bronx per the terms of the Brian Bruney trade.

Scouting Report
A good athlete, Hoffmann’s one of those guys who does everything well but nothing great. His best attribute is his defense, and he can man all three outfield spots with aplomb thanks to his good jumps and direct routes. He also has a strong throwing arm and plays all-out all the time.

Offensively, Hoffmann is a line drive hitter that sprays the ball from gap-to-gap. He makes consistent contact and his approach is sound, though he can struggle against quality breaking pitches. At 25-years-old with a maxed out 6′-3″, 235lb frame, Hoffmann doesn’t project to add anything to his just okay power, however he makes up for it with good speed and baserunning skills. He hits from a slightly open stance and his swing can get out of whack, which leads to struggles against pitches on the outer half. The righty swinging Hoffmann traditionally had a reverse split, however he broke out and hit .308-.432-.542 against lefties in 2009. Chances are it’s just a sample size issue, however.

“He’s a big, physical outfielder with big league experience,” said Yankees director of pro scouting Billy Eppler. “Our scouts saw some good things in him, including good defensive ability and a good arm. He runs well for his size, we’ve got him as a 55 runner at 6-foot-3, 235. Kevin Long, our hitting coordinator, looked at him on video and thinks there’s a foundation there hitting-wise.”

Here’s a clip of Hoffmann’s first career hit/homer, an RBI double (yay Brad Hawpe), and a nice play in the outfield.

2010 Outlook
Hoffmann will get a look in Spring Training with a chance to make the team as a reserve outfielder, however those plans may change depending on how the rest of the offseason plays out. What happens after camp is anyone’s guess, though the Yanks are assuming he’ll stick around.

My Take
I like the pick. This is about what you’d expect in the Rule 5 Draft, a potentially useful role player, but not a cornerstone guy. It’s unfathomable to think the Yankees will carry Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, and Hoffmann on their 25-man roster at the same time this season, so something’s got to give. Regardless of what happens in Spring Training, it would behoove the Yanks to work out a trade with the Dodgers allowing them to keep Hoffmann in the minors. The Austin Jackson trade further thinned whatever little upper level outfield depth the Yanks had, so having a guy like Hoffmann stashed away and getting regular playing time in Triple-A is the best situation for everyone involved.

Photo Credit: Flickr user phxwebguy

Categories : Prospect Profiles

170 Comments»

  1. Evil Empire says:

    Oh snap. RAB always on point. Exactly the prospect profile I wanted to see.

  2. Mike bk says:

    so do you think melky or gardy get dealt or just that gardy goes down to Scranton?

  3. A.D. says:

    The righty swinging Hoffmann traditionally had a reverse split

    His career splits seem fairly even with regard to BA & OBP, just seems to be generating less power off of left handers.

    http://www.minorleaguesplits.c.....?pl=469845

  4. Jamal G. says:

    It’s unfathomable to think the Yankees will carry Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, and Hoffmann on their 25-man roster at the same time this season, so something’s got to give.

    Couldn’t the Yankees put Brett Gardner in left field, and have Melky Cabrera and Jamie Hoffmann join Francisco Cervelli and one of Jerry Hairston Jr. and Ramiro Pena on the bench?

  5. iYankees says:

    Nice writeup, Mike. One thing, though:

    “however he makes up for it with good speed and baserunning skills.”

    I guess in the sense that he’s fast he has baserunning skills, but he hasn’t really had much success on the base paths, especially in 2009 (15 SB, 11 CS).

  6. vin says:

    Regardless of what happens in Spring Training, it would behoove the Yanks to work out a trade with the Dodgers allowing them to keep Hoffmann in the minors. The Austin Jackson trade further thinned whatever little upper level outfield depth the Yanks had, so having a guy like Hoffmann stashed away and getting regular playing time in Triple-A is the best situation for everyone involved.

    Great point.

  7. Salty Buggah says:

    Colorado College? They’re the main rivals of DU. We are not supposed to like them but I don’t give a shit about hockey.

    Anyway, good enough pick for the Rule 5 draft. I hope he does some good things with the Yanks. I like his patience.

  8. larryf says:

    The real question for this thread should be: Who plays center in Scranton now that AJax is gone?

  9. rbizzler says:

    How does Hoffmann compare to Collin Curtis? Better D? Better hit tool?

  10. CountryClub says:

    Interetsing infor from Cash:

    Why he was available: When the Dodgers made their September call-ups this year, they took Hoffmann off the 40-man roster, but the story is a bit more complicated than that, at least according to Brian Cashman. ”The Dodgers last year reduced him from their roster, and teams put claims on him throughout the game,” Cashman said. “But (the Dodgers) had a deal with him of signing him back. They gave him a $25,000 signing bonus, so he rejected the claims and went to Triple-A for them. It was a smart deal by the Dodgers to try to protect their assets when they got into a roster crunch. They knew he wouldn’t get through the outright, and he didn’t.

    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/200.....-hoffmann/

  11. THE KID says:

    “His best attribute is his defense, and he can man all three outfield spots with aplomb thanks to his good jumps and direct routes. He also has a strong throwing arm and plays all-out all the time”

    Translation – Bye Bye Melky

  12. Free Mike Vick says:

    i like it. He’s a good kid…a gamer..a battler…plays the game the right way.

    (hehe…i know baseball nerds hate everything i just said) :)

  13. dkidd says:

    hoffman fulfills the “big goofy white guy with overly aggressive high fives” void left by shelly duncan

  14. Hoffmann went 3-for-8 with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI in his first two career starts on May 25th and 26th, so naturally Joe Torre kept him glued to the bench for the team’s next five games.

    TorreFAIL.

    He was designated for assignment on Sept. 1st to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for the newly acquired Jon Garland.

    CollettiFAIL.

    (Yes, Garland actually did fairly well for the Dodgers down the stretch, but still. DFAing a decent young outfielder for Jon Garland should be a FAIL on general principles. And, since Garland was traded for a PTBNL, that’s TWO young players he cost the Dodgers.)

    • Zack says:

      Pierre was hitting .404/.469/.544 on May 26th. Dont think its fair to say Torre should have benched Pierre or Kemp or Ethier for Hoffmann.

      • I was about to respond by saying that all Mike was saying was, while you don’t need to bench someone to get Hoffmann in the lineup after he has two good games in a row, you also don’t have to go to the other extreme and not give him any PT at all.

        But, then I looked at the gamelogs:

        http://www.baseball-reference......;year=2009

        Mike’s wrong. His first two starts were actually the 24th and 25th, not the 25th and 26th. And, After his first two starts on the 24th and 25, he didn’t “get glued to the bench for the next 5 days.” He actually played as a LIDR the very next day, the 26th, and then was an LIDR three games (four days) later, and then started again the day after that.

        Hoffman actually got into quite a few games during his brief sojurn with the big club, until Manny got back and forced him out.

        TorreFAIL withdrawn.

        • Chris says:

          He wasn’t a LIDR. He was a pinch hitter. He only played defense (ostensibly his best attribute) in 5 games – his 3 starts, May 23 and May 26. The rest of the time he was just a pinch hitter for the pitcher.

        • emac2 says:

          How many players do you know that stay sharp at the plate by playing as LIDR?

          He wasn’t talking about real glue he was talking about Torre not helping a young player develop by getting into any kind of a grove.

    • Bo says:

      You make it sound like hes Matt Kemp. Relax.

  15. Brooklyn Ed - slacking in class now says:

    if Damon and Matsui goes elsewhere, I think Hoffman and Miranda should compete for the DH spot. Loser goes to AAA or bench.

  16. BF says:

    Kinda sounds like Chad Curtis. Which could be a nice addition.

  17. MattG says:

    “He runs well for his size, we’ve got him as a 55 runner at 6-foot-3, 235.”

    So we’re going to put him at tight end, then?

  18. Charlie says:

    i really like this pick. he seems like a decent all around player. i would definitely try to find a way to move melky/gardner. you just can’t have all 3 especially if we bring back damon.

    • Trent says:

      If no other signings happen due to whatever, can’t Gardner play left, Cabrera play right and Swisher DH? Hoffman can stay on the bench with Pena, Cervelli and Miranda.

  19. larryf says:

    needs a shave. Have we ever had a Jamie on the Yanks? I know we have but….

  20. Riddering says:

    Melky + Hoffman for Mauer. If Hoffman still retains his Minnesota accent they won’t even notice.

  21. joey boots says:

    Can he play the infield too? HCane be Start

  22. DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

    No hate but is homeboy albino?

  23. Rose says:

    Update: And please don’t get too off track with this…but this is only to answer a question I’ve seen on several threads regarding Curtis Granderson, Joe Girardi, and the #28. You don’t have to respond. This is just an FYI.

    Q: You wear No. 28, and Joe Girardi is rumored to be wearing that number next season … do you have a backup plan?

    A: From what I last heard, his daughter wanted him to wear 28, butI’m not sure if he selected it yet. I’ve wore 28 in college, but my first year in pro ball I was 19, and I wore 23 and 26, too. If I have a chance to wear 28, I’ll want to get it, but if I have to wear something else, I can do that.

    Q&A with new Yankee Curtis Granderson
    http://thebiglead.com/?p=30970

  24. Greg says:

    This guy has no shot to beat out melky or Gardner. Can’t hit

  25. Accent Shallow says:

    Hey, another opportunity to mention that Matt Palmer is a cheating piece of shit without going off topic? I’ll freaking take it. Thanks Jamie, bash that scrub back to the minors. See if his wife enjoys living on less than 20K a year.

    I think Hoffman can be a useful player, and unlike Palmer, I bear him no ill will.

  26. Joseph M says:

    This Hoffmann thing could have something else behind it, first they didn’t really give up very much and they picked up a player that Joe Torre wrote off. Cashman may be looking to rub Torre’s nose in it if the Yanks can somehow turn this kid into something.

  27. Alan says:

    That can’t be true with the Torre comment. This guy didn’t make the Dodgers 40 man roster and a Dodger executive says he has a mechanical flaw in his hitting technique

    • Joseph M says:

      Cashman has had his mojo working since the Yanks won the Series,
      he said Torre’s book was garbage in a recent interview with Mike Francesa, you got to know he would love to develop a prospect that Torre rejected.

      Hoffmann is low risk, he probably won’t amount to much but he really didn’t cost anything so we’ll see what happens.

  28. Alan says:

    Wonder if the Yankees regret getting rid of Juan Riviera. When healthy , he has put up some decent numbers, Remember that trade before the ’04 season – Nick Johnson (good hitter) and Juan Riviera for Javir Vasquez who only lasted 1 year as as Yankee.

  29. [...] of Spring Training. But who is this Jamie Hoffman? Well if you would like a scouting report on him, Mike Axisa of RAB did an excellent profile on Hoffman. It is definitely worth a [...]

  30. Amol says:

    So I doubt anyone’s paying attention to this thread at this point, but I’m shocked that noone made the obvious suggestion for how Hoffman could fit in the teams plans for next year; as Brett Gardner’s platoon partner.

  31. [...] who has two options remaining, and Jamie Hoffmann, whom the Yankees must offer back to the Dodgers if he doesn’t [...]

  32. [...] the Yankees were going to go with a defensive whiz with good speed and little bat, perhaps they’d have been better served by keeping Jamie [...]

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