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School: East Carolina; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-4; Weight: 192 pounds
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: Lightly regarded coming out of high school, Hoffman shot up the draft charts as much as any amateur player over the last year. Coming on the heels of two solid, yet unspectacular seasons with East Carolina, Hoffman, who fanned 139 and walked 60 in his first 184 innings, simply overmatched the Cape Cod League competition last summer. For the first time in his career, the 6-foot-4 right-hander missed bats, fanning 33 – and walking just five – in 24.1 dominant innings. Perhaps just as impressive, against some of the elite collegiate bats in the country he surrendered just three extra-base hits (all doubles).
And so the hype machine began to churn.
Hoffman entered the year as the most likely player to unseat N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon as the potential top pick in the June draft, but the production – mainly some good, not great strikeout totals – have failed to meet the expectations.
Through his first 67.1 innings, Hoffman has struck out a career best 9.62 hitters per nine innings while averaging just 2.67 BB/9.
Projection: I’ve been fairly hard on the Hoffman to this point – the lack of strikeouts, something that’s improved tremendously over the last month-plus, was pretty alarming. But in one of his most recent starts – April 17th game against Middle Tennessee – Hoffman spun an absolute gem: 8.0 IP, 16 strikeouts, one walk, and three hits allowed.
He isn’t ace-type potential, at least not in the same way as Rodon or TCU’s Brandon Finnegan. Instead, Hoffman’s more of a really good #2-type option that can offer glimpses of the ability to take games over. Think like a lite version of Gerrit Cole – a live-armed starting pitcher capable of chewing innings and averaging 7.8 K/9 with solid average control.
Ceiling: 5.0-win player (Pre-Tommy John Surgery)
Floor: 2.5- to 3.0-win player
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low
Draft Projection: First Round
Photo Courtesy of ECU Media Relations via Reflector.com.