2014 Draft: Jeff Hoffman

Aceves may be the missing bullpen piece
Wednesday Night Open Thread

Jeff Hoffman | RHP

Hoffman is a semi-local kid from Latham, a suburb just outside Albany. He was not drafted out of Shaker High School and followed through on his commitment to East Carolina, where he stepped right into the rotation and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 139/60 K/BB in 183.1 innings as a freshman and sophomore. This spring he has a 2.94 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB in 67.1 innings. Hoffman missed a start with shoulder inflammation a few weeks ago and earlier today Keith Law reported he needs Tommy John surgery and is done for the year.

Scouting Report
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 192 lbs., Hoffman has drawn (unfair) Justin Verlander comparisons because of his big mid-90s fastball, upper-70s hammer curveball, and fading mid-80s changeup. The curveball and changeup still need consistency, but, on his best days, Hoffman shows mid-90s gas and two put-away offspeed pitches. It’s ace stuff. No doubt about it. Despite very good athleticism, his delivery can fall out of whack and his command is spotty. That was especially true this spring, though that could be the result of the arm issues. Hoffman draws praise for having a bit of a mean streak on the mound and pitching aggressively.

MLB.com, Baseball America, and Law (subs. req’d) ranked Hoffman as the fourth, fifth, and sixth best prospect in the draft in their latest rankings, respectively. He was very much in the conversation for the first overall pick before blowing out his elbow, and the injury figures to end his chances of going that high. There is too much quality pitching in this draft for a team drafting that high to take an injured player.

The Yankees don’t pick until the second round (55th overall) and having a top talent like Hoffman fall into their laps would be a dream, injury or not. They never get a shot at players like this. Andrew Brackman and Lucas Giolito (16th overall in 2012) are recent examples of top five talents who fell due to elbow concerns, though both had Tommy John surgery after signing, not a month before the draft. The late Nick Adenhart blew out his elbow in his final high school start and fell from likely first rounder to the 14th round. The draft has changed quite a bit since then, however.

My guess is the Yankees would jump all over Hoffman if he fell to that 55th pick and worry about how to pay him later. I assume he would still look for top five money, which is $3.5M+. The Yankees are slotted for only $3.2M for the top ten rounds. There’s too much talent to pass up though, and failing to sign a second round pick wouldn’t sting as much as failing to sign a first rounder. I bet a team with extra picks (Blue Jays, Red Sox, Cardinals, Royals) rolls the dice before the Yankees even get a chance to take him.

Aceves may be the missing bullpen piece
Wednesday Night Open Thread
  • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

    I doubt he falls that hard. Manaea still got drafted in the 30’s. If he does though I wouldn’t hesitate to draft him.

  • Now Batting

    With the way TJ surgeries are going it may soon be considered an advantage to have had it done in HS/college.

    • Yan Solo

      I don’t know about an advantage, but I did once see a report where some parents were allowing their sons to have it done with no apparent injury (what doctor would perform that?!) so that they could throw all the innings and, more importantly, the breaking pitches at younger ages to increase their odds of being scouted/drafted. I can’t find that specific story (don’t even recall how long ago I saw it, but I feel like it was an HBO Real Sports episode(?)) but here’s an interesting one detailing TJS and college/hs players. And this report is from 2008(!). Wonder what the data looks like since this article was written. Hmmmm.


  • http://www.thebronxempire.com The Bronx Empire

    He wouldn’t have the leverage to demand top 5 money. Not after TJ; that kids not playing again until 2016.

    He won’t make it to us anyway. Someone will grab him in the sandwich round if he makes it that far.

    • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

      He is a junior, but if he still gets drafted in the sandwich round he should take what they offer. His stock won’t get any higher. Best case he could start pitching for scouts a couple weeks before the draft, but is likely he doesn’t throw until the summer months. He simply won’t have time to increase his stock, and he would have even less leverage as a senior.

  • King Weenie

    I live near Latham NY and the Hoffman name is all over town – there’s a Hoffman car wash, a Hoffman amusement park, a Hoffman park, etc. I assume Jeff is from this same family and if he doesn’t make good as a ballplayer he’ll be back working as a carny.

  • nycsportzfan

    This was the Kid I said after last yrs draft, I hoped we’d be in line for this yr to get. Tommy John, ey? Terrible news for the kid.

  • Basebalfanatic

    Hoffman is NOT related to the Hoffman car wash/playland/park empire….THEY wish!

  • Chris

    I’d love to have a fellow Pirate to support. Trout was going to ECU if he didn’t go pro.